Ford has begun building for the UK market right-hand-drive variants of its Edge SUV, the likely replacement in New Zealand next year for the Australian-built Territory.
The five-seater Edge is rolling off the production line at Ford’s Oakville assembly plant in Ontario, Canada, ready for its launch in the UK in June.
Ford Australia is expected to soon announce that both rear-drive and four-wheel-drive Edge models will replace the Territory early in 2017, some months before production of the Falcon and Territory ends in Melbourne.
Ford NZ will, as usual, follow suit. “We are certainly looking into it (Edge) but I can’t confirm anything,” said Ford NZ corporate communications man Tom Clancy. “We look at a lot of Ford product.”
The Edge is based on the Mondeo platform and will almost certainly be available here with the familiar trademark Ford badging, Zetec and Titanium.
It is about 10cm shorter than the Falcon-based Territory, but seven-seat versions from Ford’s Chinese operation – Changan Ford – have been spied testing in Australia.
What engines Ford will use in this part of the world is not yet known. The top-spec engine in the UK is a twin-turbo 2.0-litre diesel delivering around 155kW/450Nm and driving all four wheels via a six-speed automatic gearbox.
There is also a single-turbo 2.0-litre diesel generating 132kW and a 182kW Ecoboost 2.0-litre petrol unit, similar to the engine used in the Mondeo and Falcon. The petrol engine is likely to be available in both rear- and four-wheel-drive models.
The top-spec US Edge gets a 234kW 2.7-litre Ecoboost petrol V6. The Territory of course uses the 4.0-litre inline-six that’s being in the Ford Australia stable for many years. But that engine will be retired next year. Ford NZ has sold 11,199 Territory variants over the past decade.
The Edge’s party piece is Active Noise Control. Three microphones monitor engine noise coming into the cabin and send opposing sound waves through the audio system to cancel it.
Ford has also equipped the Edge with the latest technology, with the SYNC2 infotainment system offering voice-controlled assistance for the navigation and the entertainment centre.
“In three years we will have tripled the number of Ford SUV sales here in Europe,” said Ford marketing executive Roelant de Waard.
The worldwide SUV-crossover segment is expanding more than three times the rate of the vehicle industry overall. Global demand is up 88 per cent since 2008.
In Europe SUV/crossovers have increased from 9 per cent market share in 2008 to 22.5 per cent in 2015. In New Zealand, they have around 33 per cent share.