At next month’s 2011 Detroit Auto Show Ford is expected to unveil a concept version of the new crossover that will replace the Escape here in North America and the Kuga in Europe. The concept will preview a ‘near-production’ version of the C-platform crossover, which is expected to go on sale in North America in the second half of 2012.
Ford is yet to decide if it will stick with the Escape name but considering the current popularity of the badge Ford would be foolish to drop it.
Both the Escape replacement and new Kuga are expected to be built at Ford’s Louisville plant in Kentucky alongside the Lincoln version. The plant is currently undergoing up to $500 million in renovations and should be operational towards the end of next year. A formal announcement of Ford’s plans for the Louisville plant is expected later this month.
U.S. production of the new Kuga means the Saarlouis plant in Germany, which builds the current-generation Kuga, will likely switch to producing just the Focus hatchback and possibly the C-Max.
[Automotive News, sub req’d]