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AutoBlog: U-S-A! Ford reportedly moving production of Kuga to America

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Filed under: Plants/Manufacturing, Crossover, Ford, UAW/Unions

2009 Ford Kuga (Euro Spec) - Click above for high-res image gallery

The Ford Kuga is currently made in Europe and isn't available for sale here in the States, but if a report from Bloomberg is to be believed, the next Kuga could be produced in Louisville, Kentucky for sale both here and abroad. Bloomberg's sources claim that Ford plans to build as many as 80,000 Kuga crossovers here for export overseas by October 2011, which would undoubtedly make members of the United Auto Workers union very happy.

Ford is currently awaiting the ratification of a new labor deal that would put labor costs of the Dearborn, MI-based automaker on a nearly equal footing with General Motors and Chrysler. A major tenet of the negotiations is the guarantee of new product to build in U.S. assembly plants, effectively giving 41,000 blue collar Ford employees some much needed job security. A summary of the tentative agreement between the UAW and Ford reportedly states that the Louisville facility will receive a new product with "considerable export volume," so it's not a far leap to surmise that the Kuga will become Kentucky born and bred.

At this point, Ford has only announced that the Louisville plant will receive a more fuel efficient product based on Ford's global C platform. The Kuga certainly fits that bill, and building the small crossover in the good ol' US of A makes financial sense right now since the dollar is worth less than the euro or British pound, and labor costs in the U.S. could be $10 per hour cheaper than they are in Germany, for instance.

[source: Bloomberg]

U-S-A! Ford reportedly moving production of Kuga to America originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 23 Oct 2009 11:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Who knows?

It isn't the car per se that interests me, it's the good news on the labor and domestic manufacturing front.

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Will it be a Ford, or Mercury, stateside?

Mercury Kuga?

If you're from Bahs-ton, they had one one of those already:



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From rumors I have heard, I believe the Kuga becomes a Mercury.

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Excellent news, and a great way to give Mercury something unique in the market, instead of the (nice) Mariner.

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From wescoent, posted at GMI

What I do know:

Ford, Mercury, and Lincoln will all be getting versions of this vehicle. Ford views this segment as being a high-volume, high-profit area, and thus of critical importance to 'get right'.

I don't know anything else for sure.

As for my personal opinion, knowing Mark Fields and Derrick Kuzak as well as I do...

I'd say that the US Escape will get unique sheetmetal, closer to the Explorer than the Kuga, and it will continue to be pushed as a "Baby Explorer". Ford has seen a lot of success with the boxier SUV-like formula, but otherwise, it will likely share everything under the skin.

The Mercury version may drop the Mariner name for "Kuga", and will share virtually ALL sheetmetal with the European Kuga, since Mercury is a more progressive brand, or so Ford wants them to be.

The Ford and Mercury will share interiors.

The Lincoln version will get a unique interior and exterior, and have its chassis revised to go toe to toe with the BMW X3 and Mercedes GLK on driving dynamics, and likely be available only with a larger engine.

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