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LA show: Australia ‘on Edge’ for Ford SUV

Pointer, sister: Ford says the Edge defines its next generation of global SUVs, emphasising its “technology, dynamic design and premium craftsmanship”.

Near-production Ford Edge SUV concept previews new model, likely Territory successor

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Ford logo21 Nov 2013

By TERRY MARTIN

FORD has revealed a near-production concept version of its next-generation Edge SUV at the Los Angeles auto show that is set to replace the Australian-built Territory here in 2016.

With Territory to be discontinued alongside Falcon when the company closes its Australian factories in three years’ time, Ford will move to plug the high-volume gap in its line-up between the Kuga small SUV and the forthcoming locally developed Everest based on the Ranger utility.

There is a new-generation Explorer also in the works, but GoAuto understands the Edge is the clear frontrunner and all but locked in for the Australian market.

However, it not expected to be renamed ‘Territory’ as some pundits have suggested.

Ford senior management confirmed in LA this week that the next-generation Edge would move from being a North American-focused model to a global vehicle that would bring with it all the design, technology and engineering attributes that make it suitable for a broad range of markets, including Australia.

Right-hand-drive production is still to be announced, but Ford Motor Co executive vice-president Joe Hinrichs said at the concept’s unveiling that features such as its sleek and sporting appearance, fuel consumption and in-car connectivity were “in line with what customers value around the world”.

“The original Ford Edge offered customers in North America a fresh, compelling choice for an accommodating, efficient and safe medium utility vehicle,” Mr Hinrichs said.

“The next-generation Edge – previewed in the Ford Edge concept – will build on these cornerstones to create a global vehicle with technology to make life easier, and design and craftsmanship to appeal to customers around the globe.”

Ford Australia brand communications manager Neil McDonald said he was unable to comment on speculation about the new Edge being the Territory replacement, but reaffirmed there was room in the company’s model portfolio for another SUV – in addition to the light-sized EcoSport that launches later this month.

“The Edge is a concept that clearly demonstrates where we intend to go as we develop a new-generation model, however it’s too early to discuss timings,” Mr McDonald said.

Ford says the concept embodies the “technology, dynamic design and premium craftsmanship” that will define the company’s next global SUVs.

It is built on the company’s new C/D vehicle architecture, as seen in the S-Max concept that premiered at the Frankfurt motor show in September, and rests on a 2848mm wheelbase, which is around the same size as the Territory (2843mm).

Its overall dimensions are, however, slightly smaller than the Australian SUV heading for retirement, with a length of 4689mm, width 2119mm and height 1699mm.

Among the highlights are new driver-assist features including a prototype self-parking system that operates at the touch of a button or by remote control, and a new obstacle avoidance system that uses similar sensor and automated vehicle control technology.

The latter is able to issue a warning to the driver if it detects slow-moving or stationary obstacles in the same lane ahead, and will automatically steer and brake the vehicle if the driver fails to respond.

A new adaptive steering system is also onboard, along with technology already available on Ford production cars such as active park assist, a lane-keeping system, adaptive cruise control and blind-spot detection.

“The rate of change in vehicle technology right now is unprecedented,” said Ford group vice -president of global product development Raj Nair.

“Our engineers around the world are advancing the systems that will ultimately help make drivers smarter, safer and more efficient.

“From advanced engine systems to collision avoidance and automated driving systems, Ford will continue to lead in delivering the technologies consumers want and need.”

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