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Shanghai Motor Show: Ford resurrects Escort name to cater for Chinese market

The concept model has been debuted at the Shanghai Motor Show and covers the affordable "middle ground" in the Chinese car market, above the locally made Ford budget models and below the Focus, which is perceived there as more upmarket. 

‘By listening to our customers in China, we have developed the Ford Escort Concept to serve a new class of compact car customers,’ said Jim Farley, executive vice president, Global Marketing, Sales and Service and Lincoln, Ford Motor Company. ‘These are customers whose needs are not being completely met by existing compact cars. They are discerning, modern families, who want uncompromised functionality, quality and safety for themselves and the ones they care about.’

The company added that the model shows how Ford could expand its global compact car platform in China. 

John Lawler, chairman and CEO, Ford China, said: ‘’Combined with the new Ford Mondeo, our terrific SUV lineup and the best-selling Focus, you can start to see what our lineup will look like when we reach our goal of bringing 15 new vehicles to China by 2015.’ 

‘The unprecedented growth and significant size of the vehicle market – especially the compact car segment – combined with the high degree of dynamic change in China is allowing Ford to extend its product plans to take advantage of the pace being set by this market.’

The Escort name has been associated with Ford of Britain since it first took to the road in 1968.The name was discontinued in 2000, a year after its replacement, the equally popular Focus was launched.

Ford in the UK was equally surprised by the use of the name but a spokesman said the company is quite happy to "tolerate" it on the Chinese concept.

He added: ‘It's a name that still resonates because the Escort was extremely popular. We will not be seeing the Chinese Escort, which is made by Ford and its joint venture partner in the country, in the UK or Europe, it is an Asia-Pacific only project.’

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.