A new Fiesta-based small SUV and a replacement for the Kuga compact SUV are set to be unveiled in the next 12 months as part of Ford's plan to concentrate of its more resources on SUVs in Europe.
Ford has said higher-riding cars will be central to its restructuring plans in Europe as it attempts to achieve consistent profitability in the region, something it has not managed in two decades.
"Crossovers and SUVs are an area consumers are moving towards and we will continue to grow and develop that business," Ford of Europe CEO Steve Armstrong said Jan. 16 while announcing the automaker's latest restructuring plan for Europe.
The small SUV will be built at Ford's plant in Craiova, Romania, and could be called Puma, French analyst firm Inovev said. The model debut at the Frankfurt auto show in September, Inovev expects. It would replace the EcoSport.
Ford's second-generation Kuga, badged as the Escape in the U.S., has been spotted testing near Detroit ahead of its unveiling later this year. The car is expected to go sale in the U.S. in the second half.
Ford has not said when the new Kuga will go on sale. The SUV was launched in 2008. Ford builds the Kuga in Valencia, Spain.
Ford said it had sold a record number of SUVs in 2018 in Europe, surpassing 250,000 for the first time and accounting for a fifth of its vehicle sales.
The automaker last year singled out the Kuga as the only Europe-built passenger vehicle that made a profit for its European division in the second quarter of 2018. Ford's vans were also profitable, it said.
"Our capital allocation plans now align with utility [SUV] and the LCV business opportunity" in Europe, Ford's head of global markets, Jim Farley, told analysts in July.
Ford has said its first electric car to designed from the ground up will be an SUV and will arrive in Europe in 2020. The car is said to be inspired by the Mustang.
In the U.S. Ford is also preparing to launch a small version of the upcoming Bronco off-roader dubbed the Baby Bronco by media. The model could come to Europe to give the automaker a more utilitarian compact SUV to rival cars such as the Jeep Renegade.
Ford's new SUVs are expected to have hybrid versions as part of the company's plan to offer electrified versions of all its new models, starting with the Focus compact hatchback and Mondeo midsize car later this year.