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Ford conquers new Territory
Territory badge resurrected by Ford for China-only budget medium SUV
9 Aug 2018
THE Ford Territory is back, and it even has an Australian connection.
Always partial to resurrecting product names, the Blue Oval has revived the badge for a new Chinese-market mid-sized budget SUV cloned from an existing vehicle, the Chinese-made Yusheng S330 developed by Ford joint-venture partner, Jiangling Motors Corporation (JMC) and launched in 2016.
Like many models sold by Ford in the world’s biggest motor market, the Territory was put through its development paces by Ford Asia Pacific Product Development at its Australian proving ground at the You Yangs, in Victoria – the same place the original all-Australian Falcon-based Territory large SUV was developed.
Due to go on sale in early 2019, the new Territory is not for export to countries such as Australia where the more sophisticated and similarly sized Escape covers the medium SUV market segment.
In China, the Territory will sit below the Escape – known as Kuga in that market – selling largely on price and what Ford hopes will be its visual appeal and tech features such as a Mandarin voice-command function on the infotainment system and driver assistance technologies such as adaptive cruise control.
“An attractive price” is one of the major selling points of the Territory which will go up against a host of similar vehicles from Chinese manufacturers such as Haval and MG, as well as foreign brands.
A facelifted version of the Australian-developed Ford Escort is also up for launch soon in China.
The Territory will be built at the same JMC Ford plant in Nanchang as another vehicle with Australian origins – the Ranger-based Everest – as well as the Chinese version of the Ford Transit that was also tuned for Chinese conditions in Australia.
According to Ford, three powertrains will be offered in Territory – petrol, 48-volt mild hybrid and plug-in hybrid.
The Chinese motoring press speculates that the petrol engine will be JMC’s 1.5-litre turbo that produces 121kW of power in the Yusheng S330.
Ford says the mild hybrid powertrain will have Miller-cycle technology, but it gives no power for performance details.
Ford China chairman and CEO Peter Fleet said the Territory would allow Ford to successfully compete with Chinese auto-makers for millions of customers that it did not currently serve.
“Territory is a key proof point for how we will grow in China,” he said. “We brought Territory to market with speed, high quality and cost efficiency.
“It will be affordable for young families and new buyers across China, not just the coastal mega-cities. And the technology will delight customers.”
Ford is aiming to use the Territory to take advantage of the swing to SUVs, particularly the medium variety, sales of which jumped 38 per cent in China between 2012 and 2016.
The company also sees an opportunity to grow its volume and market share in smaller Chinese cities with no restrictions on vehicle registrations.
Mega cities such as Shanghai and Beijing have clamped down on registration of fossil-fuel vehicles to rein in air pollution and traffic congestion, thus limiting expansion prospects for car manufacturers in those regions.
Along with Ford’s Australian proving ground, Ford China’s Nanjing test centre also played a role in the development of the new Territory that both companies describe as a joint venture.
The vehicle revives a model name that bit the dust with the demise of Australian Ford vehicle manufacturing in 2016 after 12 years in production.
Developed from the ground up by Ford’s Australian design and engineering team, the BA Falcon-based Territory became the top-selling SUV in the land, peaking at 23,454 sales in 2005.
Almost 180,000 Territorys were sold in Australia, with stock finally running out in dealerships this year.
In Australia, Ford resisted the temptation to apply the Territory name to its new imported large SUV, the Edge-based Endura, which is set to land in local showrooms late this year.
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