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Ford to add 4 all-new SUVs to lineup in next few years

Michael Martinez
The Detroit News

Ford Motor Co. will add four all-new sport utility vehicles to its Ford and Lincoln brand vehicle lineups in a “few years” time, the automaker confirmed Monday.

The Dearborn automaker would not comment directly on what vehicles it would introduce, nor would it define what a “few years” means. SUVs are among the hottest segments in the auto industry now as consumers are choosing them over somewhat more fuel-efficient cars in the wake of lower gas prices.

“We study lots of things,” Ford President of the Americas Joe Hinrichs told reporters Monday. “SUVs are hot, no question about it. We have a strong brand for SUVs and a strong customer base. Opportunities for SUVs are important to us.”

Ford’s SUV lineup includes the Edge, Escape, Explorer and Expedition. Lincoln has the MKC and larger MKX, MKT and Navigator.

Ford said Monday that one in three cars in the U.S. market sold today are SUVs, and it’s expecting that eventually in the next four years, SUVs will make up 40 percent of the U.S. auto market.

Ford-brand SUVs totaled 65,675 sales last month – a 13 percent increase versus a year ago, for the best December performance since 2003. Edge sales rose 29 percent, Escape sales rose 9 percent and Explorer sales rose 14 percent. MKC sales rose 88 percent, while MKX and MKT sales fell.

One of Ford’s likeliest options would be a subcompact SUV. The automaker sells the subcompact EcoSport in Europe. Former CEO Alan Mulally said previously that Ford would eventually bring the EcoSport stateside, but didn’t offer a timeline.

When asked if the EcoSport would easily be transferred from Europe to the United States, Hinrichs said, “I don’t know.”

The automaker also could revive its Bronco SUV. Bloomberg reported last year that Ford entered contract talks with the United Auto Workers hoping to bring the Bronco to Michigan Assembly Plant.

Lincoln executives have said the brand would introduce two more new vehicles to its luxury lineup by the end of the decade, but have so far declined to offer any details.

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