Ford CEO Forgets Job Title, Pitches Puma ST

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
ford ceo forgets job title pitches puma st

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.

Wish this came to NA and other markets!

— Jim Farley (@jimfarley98) February 16, 2021

[Images: Ford Motor Co.]

Join the conversation
5 of 27 comments
  • FreedMike FreedMike on Feb 18, 2021

    @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.

    • Tim Healey Tim Healey on Feb 18, 2021

      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.

  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Feb 18, 2021

    " 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.

    • See 1 previous
    • Lichtronamo Lichtronamo on Feb 20, 2021

      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.

  • Robert I have had 4th gen 1996 model for many years and enjoy driving as much now as when I first purchased it - has 190 hp variant with just the right amount of power for most all driving situations!
  • ToolGuy Meanwhile in Germany...
  • Donald More stuff to break god I love having a nanny in my truck... find a good tuner and you can remove most of the stupid stuff they add like this and auto park when the doors open stupid stuff like that
  • John Williams Sounds like a Burnout Special you can put together on any 5.0 F150. Whoever said this was Cars and Coffee bait is right on the money.
  • ToolGuy Question: F-150 FP700 (  Bronze or  Black) supercharger kit is legal in 50 states, while the  Mustang supercharger kit is banned in California -- why??