Since Alan Mulally took the helm of Ford Motor Company, the United States-based automaker’s commitment to improving their car business has been the chief objective for business revitalization. Highlighted by continuing strong 2010 sales of the Ford Fusion and Taurus as well as the eagerly awaited arrival of the new Ford Focus, that mission could be deemed a success on many fronts. Great designs and innovative technology is found throughout Ford’s car lineup. Strategically fighting to prevent neglect to their once dominating truck business, Ford appears to be balancing the scale of their vehicle lineup as late.
While development of the trusty F-150 pickup is maintained at peak levels in the ultra-competitive full-sized truck class, other truck-like vehicles such as the Ford Escape is running 4 years without a major cosmetic address. Fortunate class with the compact sport utility Escape, the benchmark set the current vehicle is still top in the industry. Good for the current vehicle, Ford engineers are presented with a problem attempting to develop a replacement design better than the current Ford Escape. At the 2011 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the Vertrek concept vehicle is strongly hinted as the forward look at the new Escape.
Receiving declaration across the industry over the past year for their production vehicles such as the Ford Fiesta, the Vertrek’s debut in Detroit resulted in a 2011 North American award for Best Concept at the auto show. A creation of what Ford describes as a kinetic design philosophy, the Vertrek concept angles towards being an aerodynamically-conscious body. A much more car-based shape, front end styling and even the roof of the Ford sport utility vehicle (SUV) concept draws unmistakable similarities to that of the new Ford Focus. This should not be so surprising since the Vertrek Concept is crafted on the same C-Segment platform as the upcoming Focus. Though derivative, the SUV does expel its own sense of ruggedness with a tall stance and large wheel arches.
Blatant in their intentions to give future buyers and auto enthusiasts a peak at the future Ford Escape (or the European Ford Kuga) form, production-readiness is apparent in the Vertrek exterior as well as interior styling. A sign of production intent for many aspects of this concept vehicle, the Ford Vertrek’s interior appears at least 80% production ready. Clearly styled, the Vertrek Concept dash panel upper surface runs uninterrupted out to the points of the side view camera pods. Multiple colours are used to inside along different panels and surfaces with an accent of red along the steering wheel, seats and floor mats. Supplying cargo area up to 66.3 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down, it should be noted that the Ford Vertrek shaves little more than a cubic foot from the confides of the conventional 2011 Escape’s cabin (however, the Vertrek’s space does closely mirror the Escape Hybrid).
Ford has indicated that existing powerplants which could be considered for the Vertrek concept. With a diesel engine option listed as possible for European markets, three gasoline powerplants deemed more suited to the North American market is mentioned. Consisting of a 2.5 liter inline four-cylinder engine or one of two Ford EcoBoost engines (the 1.6 liter and 2-liter displacement sizes), the American automaker has approximated fuel economy improvements up to 20 percent. Ford pledges by 2013, 90% of the products sold in the North American market will have an engine option enabling the EcoBoost technology. Perhaps in a future Ford model, an EcoBoost gasoline engine can combine with a electric powertrain similar to that used with acclaim in the Escape Hybrid. While the Vertrek Concept does not lead any speculation in the future use of a full hybrid powertrains, the design does incorporate the Ford’s Auto Start-Stop system.
Information and photo source: Ford Motor Company