By on February 18, 2021

Ford CEO Jim Farley announced his fondness for the Puma ST at the start of the week, going so far as to state that he wished the crossover was available in North America and other markets. This resulted in a steady stream of outlets suggesting that he’s totally forgotten his role within the company. As head of the brand, Farley would indeed have meaningful influence in regard to Ford’s distribution choices.

But he probably already knows that and we’re wondering if his social media musings about the rowdy little Puma — which borrows the Fiesta ST engine — were more about testing the waters on a global market push. While we don’t want to rule out the possibility of Farley kissing a photo of the crossover on his nightstand every night as he wonders how to spread its glory, something tells us there may be alternative scenarios. 

Ford discontinued the Fiesta (and Fiesta ST) for several major markets in 2019 due to claims that the markets were more prone toward pickup trucks and SUVs. The vehicle allegedly didn’t mesh with the automaker’s push toward becoming “America’s Truck Brand” and a pocket of hatchback enthusiasts went into mourning. But the Puma ST is technically a crossover, suggesting there may be a place for it somewhere in the North American lineup.

That’s undoubtedly a stretch. We’re not aware of any decisions indicating Ford that might bring the Puma stateside — though the vehicle is already assembled alongside the EcoSport in Romania, helping smooth out some logistical headaches. The duo also share a platform originally devised with some help from Mazda and have overlapping powertrains. However, the Ford EcoSport is famously disliked by most people taking an interest in automobiles and the Puma is basically a cuter version of the same car with some upgraded features.

This would result in a higher MSRP than the $20,000 EcoSport, for a vehicle that sacrifices interior space and general utility for a decidedly more interesting and upscale package were the Puma to come stateside. But any shortcomings are said to be less noticeable in the 200-horsepower ST variant.

Europeans have the option of fitting the crossover with the Focus’ 1.5-liter EcoBoost, Pilot Sport 4S tires, 19-inch wheels, a Quaife limited-slip differential, torque vectoring, and more standard technology when they choose the performance option. This is the model Farley claims to want to see embraced by the world and it makes a far more compelling case than the base Puma.

At the end of the day, this is the kind of vehicle Ford often claims is best for the United States but probably won’t import — much like the Focus Active. The Puma also looks like something that could have come from another manufacturer (specifically Mazda) now that Ford has culled all cars that aren’t the Mustang. While that could be a good thing, helping the model stand out at dealerships, we’d honestly just rather see the Fiesta ST make a comeback.

[Images: Ford Motor Co.]

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27 Comments on “Ford CEO Forgets Job Title, Pitches Puma ST...”


  • avatar
    ajla

    Why not brand it as a Mustang?

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    If the FiST died, then the PuST has no chance, either, since it would require the additional costs of Federalization, not to mention a microscopic market.

    Not gonna happen.

    • 0 avatar
      tankinbeans

      Make an electric version and then create a portmanteau out of PuST and Joule, PuSToule.

      I would drive a green one and name it Pus.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Ford decided to Crossover Everything, and the Fiesta isn’t a crossover, therefore it had to die.

      • 0 avatar
        RHD

        Trying to be trendy means missing out on the meat and potatoes that isn’t “trendy”. 4-door sedans are more popular than the bigwigs want to think.
        The push to SUVs and pickups is because the profit margin is biggest there. That’s a business decision, just like closing the factory, laying everyone off and moving production to China because it’s cheaper is a business decision.
        Those interested in everything automotive can still jeer and boo their decisions. We want awesome, interesting vehicles and don’t worry about Ford’s executive’s bonuses.
        Calling the Mach-E a Mustang was completely unnecessary, though.

        • 0 avatar
          tankinbeans

          I haven’t been around that long, but I wonder if the Detroit manufacturers’ decision to abandon anything but crossovers and trucks is going to bite them in the anal openings and cede the market to the Japanese (again) and Koreans who have remained steadfastly in the market even losing money in the short run.

          • 0 avatar
            Matt Posky

            We’ve been asking ourselves the same question since 2016 and I am dying for an opportunity to gloat. Though the lost American jobs is going to make it a bitter-sweet experience.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          “4-door sedans are more popular than the bigwigs want to think.”

          Genuine question: with whom?

          All the regular people I know won’t even look at a sedan anymore. “Cars” are CUVs, SUVs, or pickup trucks. “Small cars” are things like this Puma.

          • 0 avatar
            tankinbeans

            I’ve gone back and forth a couple times between sedan and crossover. I liked my Escape, my first crossover, and my CX-5, second crossover just fine, but found the handling ponderous even at normal speeds. Though the Mazda was better sorted than the Escape, the body roll was noticeable even on long arching freeway entrance ramps.

            I prefer sedans and am ambivalent on crossovers. I got over my knnejerk internet disdain for the crossover and can see why people choose them. Right now, I’m eyeing a Turbo3 in a couple years.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      We’d still have the Fiesta ST if a tenth of the people on the internet that claimed they’d buy one if Ford imported them had ponied up. 5 grand on the hood of a car with a 21,000ish MSRP when I got mine. Ford built the car that internet car forum posters all say they wanted aaaaaand…they went and got CRV’s, RAV 4’s, Escapes and all of the other cars those same posters claim to loathe.

      • 0 avatar
        TheEndlessEnigma

        I bought a 2016 FiST and have never looked back. 5 years later she has 83,000 miles on the clock and is as much of a joy to drive now as it was new.

        It’s the car I wanted Ford to build, Ford built it and I bought it!

  • avatar
    dwford

    How about just a new Ecosport? Haven’t even seen any spy photos around that aren’t really just this Puma.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Farely- a CEO has influence? Hackett – but how does it connect to things? and we sell cars? Bill Ford- I’ll head a committee Mulally – we’ll start a federalization committee on this NOW! I want a progress report at next weeks meeting Hank the Deuce – I want six on a cargo 747 tonight and a boat at Southampton tomorrow. 30 ought to do, see them out and see if they’re fun.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    @Matt:

    The Ecosport for this market is built (and I use that word loosely) in India, not Romania.

    And, yes, I wonder why Farley wouldn’t say something like “you know, I’m going to look into making the Puma available in North America since I’m the CEO,” but it would sell here.

    • 0 avatar
      Tim Healey

      Correct, but I think Matt is saying that if the Puma and Euro EcoSport are built together in Romania, and Ford brought the Puma here, it could easily switch U.S. production to Romania.

      Either that or we goofed, and if we goofed, we’ll fix it.

  • avatar

    ” and the Fiesta isn’t a crossover, therefore it had to die.”

    But if to call it crossover? Why not to call hatchback crossover and buyers will line up to buy one. Or call it Ecosport. It is more sport than eponym.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Leave out the ‘hatch’ and ‘eco’ and just call it a sport-crossover, or crossover-sport. Add a couple wrinkles in the sheet metal and modify the front clip, and it’s a whole new segment!

    • 0 avatar
      Lichtronamo

      It certainly isn’t ground clearance that defines a crossover. Models like the HRV, C-HR, Kona, Trailblazer, Trax, etc., don’t appear substantially higher than a passenger vehicle. IMO, VW missed an opportunity to keep the Golf in the US by just jacking it up an inch or two like a Subaru Crosstrek – there was a Matchbox car like this when I was a kid.

      Given the market, not having the PUMA in the US seems like a mistake when the Fiesta and Focus were pulled. It would certainly be a better offering than the craptastic EcoSport.

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