By on April 18, 2014

000-ford-escort-concept-shanghai

After several years of dormancy, Ford revived the Escort name for a concept sedan at last year’s Shanghai Motor Show. That concept is now production-ready, and will make its debut this weekend at the 2014 Beijing Motor Show.

Autoblog reports the Escort will be made locally in China through a joint venture, and may sport either a three- or four-cylinder powerplant driving the front wheels.

As for other global markets, an Escort was spotted in Europe earlier this month undergoing testing, but nothing more has come of it.

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63 Comments on “Beijing 2014: Production-Ready Ford Escort To Debut...”


  • avatar
    Volt 230

    I like it, I wonder if it would do well stateside. Our Escort never looked so nice.

    • 0 avatar
      tankinbeans

      Me too. I had a 93 Escort LXi, which was generally blah but never let me down. It wasn’t until I let my brother use it to go to work that it decided it no longer like its transmission.

      As far as size goes, I wonder if this slots somewhere between the Focus and Fiesta as the Contour slotted between the old Escort and Taurus. It certainly looks like it shares a good bit in common with the Focus, but my eyes may be deceiving me.

      • 0 avatar
        Volt 230

        They can’t bring it here cause they would not know where to price it. Less than Fiesta or more than Fiesta, it would take sales from the latter and Ford already has enough problems with the new Fit.

        • 0 avatar
          Viquitor

          @Volt the hard points tell me there’s a Mk.2 Focus underneath the new body panels. So it’s bigger than the Fiesta.

          In the US market Ford would have to bring the Focus a bit upmarket to make it work. European press said it’ll go the way of the Dacia and look for a place under the Sun in the East. In South America the Escort nameplate carries an emotional value. Ford could easily replace the Focus with it and sell it to a slightly lower price point while making bigger profits.

      • 0 avatar
        Viquitor

        Wasn’t that a rebadged Mazda 323?

        We had a Mk3 Escort back in 1994, the European version, only produced in Brazil and had a VW 1.8 engine. Great car.

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    Look! Another slightly lowered beltline and increased rear greenhouse area!

    There may yet be hope.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    Interesting, but I can’t help but wonder what this car does that a straight up port-over of the Focus wouldn’t. Two Ford?

    • 0 avatar
      niky

      It’ll be cheaper. The Focus is getting to be pretty expensive to build and market. The Escort will benefit from cheaper tooling and parts, cheaper steel and possibly tax breaks if they’re shoving the 1.5 liter motor under the bonnet.

  • avatar
    aycaramba

    Interesting. Kind of looks like a smaller version of the current Taurus. I have to wonder if there was any internal debate at Ford to do something like this instead of the continued push towards more European – oriented design with the current Focus and Fiesta. Though I’m pretty sure that Mullaly would’ve killed that idea if it made it to his desk, since he’s remained steadfast in his commitment to the “One Ford” philosophy.

    I can see how this makes sense in China, though. A little more traditional, and it looks (though may not be) a little larger than the Focus. Plus, I suspect that the Escort will be engineered less “rigorously” and therefore less expensive to manufacture, even when you take into account the fact that it will be built in China.

    • 0 avatar

      > I have to wonder if there was any internal debate at Ford to do something like this instead of the continued push towards more European – oriented design with the current Focus and Fiesta.

      It prolly has more to do the point of the chinese JV’s to develop local know-how in the full cycle. The first step was to ship over designs and machinery to produce locally, and now this is expressing some chinese design expertise. It’s a cheaper version of some global platform for the local or nearby market, not unlike how the US used to have cheaper domestic designs.

      I suspect it’s a sign of things to come in china.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      This could make sense here in a couple years, if it’s bigger than the Fiesta and Ford adds 4-5 inches to the Focus wheelbase and moves Focus a bit upscale. Then there’s room for it below the Focus, which would be either a larger compact or smaller mid-size. The Fusion might have to go a bit more upscale too, but upscale=more profits, and the Fusion is already a better interior package in a smaller car than the Taurus. How old is the current generation Taurus now?

  • avatar

    I had an Escort XR3. i would love another. Especially if it’s a notchback

  • avatar
    dwford

    Will this be converted to a small Lincoln for the US?

  • avatar
    zamoti

    I think that it is interesting that so far the majority of the comments are open questions.
    I like the looks, and I don’t have any issue with reviving the name (as a 2x former owner), but I just don’t see where it fits if it is US bound. Larger than a Focus, smaller than a Fusion? Would likely step on both sets of toes with pricing.

  • avatar
    MrGreenMan

    I hope that’s a winner, because it looks like what I expect a small sedan to look like. The front door/back door proportions seem to suggest at least a usable back seat for adults. Apart from the corporate grill, the no-frills, clean look is exactly what a function-before-form, middle class sedan should be like…and there’s a trunk, however small, so it’s three boxes. (I hope that trunk’s latched like the lower-end Fords with a cavernous opening, rather than like a Lincoln with the giant trunk/little opening that limits ingress/egress.) I’m sure with the invisible B pillar and the thin A pillar it would fail the US rollover regulations of thirty-five times the weight of the vehicle. It would be fun to imagine even the old 200 HP 3.0 V6 under that nose – pretty fast in a straight line on the cheap.

    Edit: And look at all that glass! It’s like the Uglibu in that it should have great visibility.

  • avatar
    catachanninja

    My first car was an 01 escort, too bad it wasn’t a match for iced hills in Wisconsin since the car has apparently gone up in vale. Not sure id buy one unless they made an ST version

  • avatar
    raresleeper

    Someone pinch me because I must be asleep in a dream.

    This… is an Escort?

    WTH?

    Where was this back in the 2000′s? I had an ’02, it was the last of the Escorts. I believe the last year.

    It was absolutely anemic. Power nothing. Motor kicked the can at 160k.

    I even tried putting SVT Contour wheels on it, but the lug pattern was different than the smaller diameter pattern on my Escort. Damnit.

    This actually looks pretty sweet.

    If the motor has enough guts, and its mated to a six-speed, I think I’ll bite. Made in China or not.

  • avatar
    AMC_CJ

    I like it a lot better then the Fiesta, and a little better than the Focus. Give me the 3cyl with a manual and It’ll be my next commuter car.

    • 0 avatar
      dtremit

      To me, it’s not as attractive as the Focus hatch, but it’s better looking than the Focus sedan.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        @dtremit
        I have to agree with you.

        My mother has a Focus and I don’t mind the front end looks to much. I think these vehicles are designed to look conservative, to catch a certain demographic, ie, my mother.

        What I don’t like about my mothers Focus is the crap and cheap interior that would have made the British proud in the 80s.

        Bland use of poor materials and poor design. I’m glad our Focus here doesn’t have the developing world interior. She even has a mid spec’d model.

        I suppose it’s built to a price.

  • avatar
    Blackcloud_9

    I find it interesting that all of the early comments are lauding the virtues of this car. Besides the front end, I find the styling rather bland. Not that it’s a bad thing but it just looks like a “regular” car to me.
    I also think that if the front of the car had the 3-ellipse “T” on it (Toyota),the same commenters would be decrying about how boring the car was and Toyota just won’t take any styling chances

    • 0 avatar
      MrGreenMan

      Look at two counter-trends in the design – since America is getting more and more designs for Chinese tastes, who can’t be happy with:

      - Rear headroom: In picture three, the rear roof doesn’t begin to go down until at or after the door handle – which, given that we have to guess at the configuration without an interior shot, is probably around the middle of the back cushion – i.e., there’s a real roof on this sedan. (Remember comments on the Dodge Charger yesterday – short perps in the cop car version since it’s got such a fast roof line.)
      - Visibility: Notice in picture one you can see out the back pretty well without rear obstruction, and, similarly, in picture four, you’ve got a pretty good view forward.

      People are hungry for a return of some visibility and some glass into the design lexicon of more manufacturers. The gun-slit windows feel so much like the last decade. We may not be able to get back to glass-to-metal height ratios on regular sedans like on the Subaru Forester, but we can dream.

  • avatar
    seanx37

    I don’t get it. Don’t we already have Fiesta/Focus? Why does this exist? And why is it so bland? That is the strong point of Ford products right now. They are for the most part better looking than their competition. This car looks like…a Ford Escort.

    • 0 avatar
      raresleeper

      Okay… you’re clearly not remembering the last monstrosity that Ford served to us in big heaping piles, so let me refresh your memory:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:97-02_Ford_Escort_sedan.jpg

  • avatar
    wmba

    And this meets the “One Ford” corporate policy how? Exactly?

    So in fact Mulally does not believe in a global Ford philosophy, wherein all markets get the same cars. Not when you can make a buck knocking together prehistoric Escorts for the Chinese market.

    Oh well, it sounded good in the corporate press conferences, as Mulally shyly smiled his aw shucks look, and was held up as the current god of turnarounds, even as Ford slid to near last in quality ratings. Even with a limited model range, apparently Ford has trouble with consistent panel fits and those EB engines.

    All smoke and mirrors to me. YMMV.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      “One Ford” involves having a coherent centralized strategy for product planning, as opposed to allowing the regions to do their own thing with relative autonomy, as they did in the past.

      That doesn’t mean that everyone gets the same exact vehicles. But you can bet that the Escort will have more in common with other Fords than it would have under the old regime.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        @Pch101
        You sound like a Ford apologist.

        Hmmmm…..a soft spot for this company?

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          That doesn’t sound like being an apologist. He is just stating facts.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @bball40dtw
            The F Series and this Escort really fit into this Ford statement. Doesn’t it?

            ……………………………………

            As CEO Alan Mulally sets about remaking Ford Motor (F), he has put at the center of his efforts the “world car.” It’s a simple concept: building one product for multiple markets rather than a bunch of different ones tailored to national or regional tastes.

            …………………………………….

            Oh, it’s different in the US, isn’t it? Hmmm….so what effect do the US taxes, protectionist barriers and energy regulations have on it’s vehicle market.

            Again we go back to the US adopting the UNECE Vehicle Harmonisation.

            Yep, the US can use and do what the most of us use. Not.

            FTAs might be harder for the US to adopt with it protectionist vehicle industry.

            We’ll see what occurs in Japan and Korea regarding the chicken tax and other barriers.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            That is part of One Ford. It doesn’t mean that there will be no variations in different markets. Ford has cut the number of platforms, but they aren’t going to stop selling the F150 in the US just because its not a “world car/truck”. I would bet that it shares more parts with other vehicles than ever before.

            A good example of “One Ford” is the Transit Van. Its not going into every market, because not every market needs a giant van. It will also have different engines, drive wheels, and bodies based on the market. It has been a vehicle with collaboration between Ford Europe and Ford USA. The external design was headed by Ford Europe. The engineering was teh modification of an existing European platfrom that Ford USA extensively reworked. Getting it to a point that is acceptable for the US market has a lot to do with the launch delays.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @bball40dtw
            My point is the F Series trucks are for an individual market to suit ‘tastes’ or barriers, however you want to put it.

            The Transit, isn’t just sold in the US and Europe. It’s actually a global platform.

            The F Series isn’t, or this Escort.

            Ford is trying to globalise, I don’t deny it. Ford has it’s hands tied with the different regulations and barriers within the US market, or the Ranger would be sold side by side with the F Series.

            Ford was initially going to import the Ranger from Thailand into the US, but the FTA fell apart between the US and Thailand due to political reasons.

            So, Ford has in fact lied to the people when it stated that the Ranger will not be required in the US as the F Series can replace it. Hmmmm….hindsight is great again.

            Major companies are institutionalised, like governments. They will spin until the cows come home.

            Ford One sounds great, but the reality it’s not possible with different regulations, like I have stated, particularly within the US concerning it’s protection of it’s commercial vehicles, particularly pickups and variations on it’s safety design regulations (which still has the US as the worst OECD country with vehicle fatalities).

            The Chinese market will have massive potential for small vehicles, so a large range of similar, but different vehicles is viable. So, the Ford One policy isn’t working.

            I do think this Escort will be offered in other countries, especially if it can come with the 3 cylinder, Eco Boost.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “It doesn’t mean that there will be no variations in different markets. Ford has cut the number of platforms, but they aren’t going to stop selling the F150 in the US just because its not a ‘world car/truck.’”

            You’re attempting to reason with someone who is only semi-literate, a guy who commits so much effort to being dumb that he doesn’t have the time to become any smarter.

            I would suggest scrolling past the timewaster. There’s no there there.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @Pch101
            Are you a retard or a self professed savant? You and DiM sure a very naïve.

            Ford wanted the US government to change vehicle regulation to suit it’s ‘One Ford’ policy. Really.

            Did this occur? NO.

            I do recollect Ford pushing hard for the US government to adopt what the rest of the world is doing, harmonization.

            You really can distort, if your one horse town paradigms are challenged.

            The world is flat and those creationist are correct, the world was created by god a few millennium ago.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @bball40dtw and Pch101
            This is even from TTAC.

            One Ford was a Ford dream, it’s been modified to suit the reality of protectionism and markets, ie, US trade barriers and the huge future Chinese small vehicle market.

            http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/03/ford-calls-for-harmonized-us-eu-standards/

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @bball40dtw – If you’re unfamiliar with BAFO’s work, he’s the founding member and president of SPaM. That’s the Small Pickup Mafia.

            He’ll weave small pickups into any tread he can, as off topic as it may be. It must be in his contract or something. That and exaggerating the attributes of small trucks, while putting down full-size trucks, along with the entire American auto industry anywhere he can as well as American culture. It’s not clear what’s his motivation or why the vendetta, but he has a real chip on his shoulder, bee in his bonnet. So he can’t even think straight, obviously.

            Same unsubstantiated talking-points over and over and over. Like diarrhea of the keyboard.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      @wmba
      Ford made a statement that ‘One Ford’ exists outside of the US and Chinese markets.

      They are apparently different.

      So, it’s a ‘One Ford’ when you don’t have a ‘One Ford’.

  • avatar
    julkinen

    Hey, if it’s a booted Escort, it should be called the Orion.

  • avatar
    matador

    Ford’s designers have been doing a very nice job lately. Between this and the Fusion, I think they have a good thing going.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      @matador,
      This vehicle and the global Ranger have come out of Ford Australia.

      Ford Australia has of late done some good work. It’s also good to see that Ford will keep the design and engineering facility in Australia, it of great value to the company and Australia.

      It’s good to leave the manufacturing to the more ‘socialised’ economies that want to subsidise vehicle production and leave the high value and high paying jobs and industry here.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    This vehicle actually was a bit of a marketing blunder by Ford Dearborn.

    Ford announced almost a year ago the demise of it’s Australian vehicle manufacturing at roughly the same time Ford announced this new Escort.

    Ford, basically put it’s foot in it’s mouth.

    Have a read of what not to do when upping and leaving a country.

    http://www.news.com.au/finance/business/ford-australias-great-china-hope-just-dont-tell-anyone/story-fnda1bsz-1226625104356

  • avatar

    This car looks tame by today’s standard. Where are the wild groves we usually see. This look like something from the early 2000s.

  • avatar
    300zx_guy

    I’d be shocked if the glass looked like that (no visible B or C pillars) on the production version. The Escort may be “production ready”, but the car in the pictures is not it.

  • avatar
    niky

    While it would be nice to not have market variation, that’s impossible.

    One Ford has homogenized Ford’s small car offerings where possible, but in this case, using old Ford platforms and parts to create a new model for emerging markets makes a lot of sense (cents?) in that it requires very little in terms of upfront investment versus a wholly new car.

    This is no different from the “Fiesta” and “Figo” units sold elsewhere, which are really just warmed over previous generation Fiestas.

    Re-using already paid-for tooling and technology? Still fits the platform.

    F-series? As stated in the other thread, it’s impossible to homogenize the pickup market completely at this point. I see no issue in having an F-Series above the Ranger (though that market segment doesn’t exist outside the USA, yet). I just think it’s a damn shame there is no Ranger below the F-Series, since the market segment does exist, and the Ranger could totally rock it versus what’s in that segment (Tacoma, Navara, upcoming Colorado) if Ford so desired.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      @niky
      I agree. The major US pickup manufacturers are totally reliant of the sale of full size pickups to exist.

      An exit strategy is needed and this should have started 30 years ago.

      Until Detroit can stand on it’s own two feet without full size pickup sales we will not see a level playing field in the US with commercial vehicles (pickups fall into this class).

      As the regulations keep on tightening with CAFE in the US it will kill off pickups on it’s own without any competition from outsiders.

      The US is better off looking at how to compete with what the rest of the world has, especially now it’s chasing FTAs for its survival.

      • 0 avatar
        niky

        They already have an exit strategy. The big two are starting to do well outside the US, and are building a fleet of globalized vehicles that buyers seem to like.

        CAFE isn’t going to hurt big pick-ups at all. The regulations are written with more lenient rules for trucks, and going up a size in footprint gives you benefits, as well. Plus you can off-set poorer economy in trucks by selling or offering more fuel efficient small cars and hybrids.

        FTAs won’t change the market for full-sized pickups much, either, even if the chicken tax* is abolished. Buyer preference takes a long time (and very high gas prices) to change. Witness the 2008 crisis. Suddenly, everyone wanted small cars. Fit sales zoomed. Once things normalized, Fit sales tanked. People want what they want, and it takes a long time to convince them otherwise. If American manufacturers stop making what people want, they lose market share and profit. Which would be a silly thing to do.

        *this is not to say it’s not a market distortion that’s unfair protectionism. It’s just to say that at this point, it hardly matters and its removal won’t alter the market share of big trucks significantly, not for several years, at least.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          @niky
          I do agree with most of what you are saying.

          The Chinese have a battle on two fronts with motor vehicles, the first is political and second is quality. Like the Japanese and unlike the Koreans the Chinese have to challenge the world view of them politically. The Japanese had that after WWII.

          You can see the comments on this site regarding the Chinese personal/political perspective vs an engineering appraisal.

          As for quality, Great Wall has lifted it’s game, Foton is actually quite a good product from what I’ve read. It has to be considering the Western input into all the systems driving it. The Foton is actually the largest pickup we have on the Australian market, so mid sizers are creeping up in size.

          As for CAFE, it will affect pickup sales as does the impact of the chicken tax. I’m not in no way saying that full size trucks will cease to exist, but they will reduce in numbers. That’s CAFE’s aim.

          Aluminium trucks will cost.

          Every country that the US tries to form an FTA with stipulates that the 25% Chicken Tax must go. So it must have something to do with the shaping of the US commercial vehicle market. If the Chicken Tax didn’t work it wouldn’t be there. Why would a government have something useless if it costs to administer.

          The Big 2 and Fiat are currently making their money out of NA, which means full size pickup profits are a very big part of their very existence.

          CAFE and the footprint will reduce numbers by the fact that to keep a large engine pickup in production it essentially has to move up to an HD in size. If that was the case HD’s would be very big sellers.

          I do think the Colorado will show if I’m right or wrong. My guess is the Colorado will be a big seller, even bigger than the Tacoma.

          Ford will re-think it’s F Series only model in the US and introduce the global Ranger.

          Time will tell.

          The other area is the US diesel regulations. They have set quite a high benchmark, which can be deemed as good. But yet the regulated fuel quality actually makes it harder for US diesel engines to meet the benchmarks. I find that odd, unless it’s a form of technical barrier.

          I see the US market homogenising to the global market within two decades. The US will still have it’s own product makeup. Sort of like comparing Australia to any Euro country. We have the same regulations, but a completely different vehicle makeup.

          Economics is the biggest driver in a country’s car culture. Then regulation and infrastructure, ie, what a government allow or influences you to drive and the ability to drive and park a vehicle easily.

          Also, in two decades you will see the Chinese influence as large as the Euro, Japanese and US influence.

          The Chinese influence will be similar to the Korean and Japanese, decidedly Asian as Asia will be it’s domain.

          Those aluminium, EVs and hybrids are not viable unless they are heavily subsidised.

          Even in the US it will take decades for EVs and hybrids to be over 50% of the market. Subsidisation also can only go on for so long.

          I’m sorry about my spelling as the auto correct function corrects into US English, not proper English, like we use in Australia ;) I only catch some of it, I don’t proof read.

  • avatar
    otaku

    I’d really like to see a slightly modified version of this brought over as an inexpensive FWD coupe (or possibly 3-door hatch), which is something Ford hasn’t offered its US customers since 2010.

  • avatar
    tekdemon

    I really suspect that this is the old USDM Focus rising yet again from beyond the grave. You know, the Focus that Ford kept building here despite it being an ancient platform and despite there being a much newer Focus platform in Europe-they kept it around for cost reasons here and in a cost sensitive market like China I’m thinking Ford has brought the car back, albeit with a refresh and the new corporate grille.

    I don’t think the nearly identical roofline is a coincidence.
    FYI non-Americans, this is the car I am referring to: http://images.gtcarlot.com/pictures/17681667.jpg

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    For software there’s oldversion.com

    “BECAUSE NEWER IS NOT ALWAYS BETTER!”

    Imagine if we had that choice with cars.


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