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Report: Ford dealers say Kuga should be named Escape in U.S. - Do you agree? [w/POLL]

14 posts in this topic

Filed under: Car Buying, Crossover, Ford

630kuga.jpg
2008 Ford Kuga in front, possible 2011 Ford Kuga out back - click above for high-res image gallery

Here's the skinny: Ford's current Escape is heading the way of the dodo bird. In its place will be the Kuga, a much less dowdy looking compact CUV that should compete nicely with the likes of the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V and Hyundai Tucson. The European designed 2011 Kuga will be built here in the United States at a Louisville, Kentucky plant. All this we already know and have known for some time now.

What we don't know is what Ford will call the Kuga when it goes on sale here in 2011. Kuga is obviously one option, but so, apparently, is Escape. According to Wards Auto, Ford's domestic dealers are pushing for Escape. "I believe the Escape is a great vehicle with a great reputation and that it would be a big mistake to kill the Escape name," says one San Diego based dealer.

Others point back to Ford's decision to drop the Taurus name in favor of Five Hundred - part of the brand's strange decision to make all cars start with the letter "F" (Focus, Fusion, Five Hundred - though the Mustang never became Fustang) and all SUVs and crossovers start with the letter "E" (Edge, Escape, Explorer, Expedition, Excursion). Though, of course, reverting back to Five Hundred was supposed to drum up some long lost brand equity/nostalgia, which is the first thing CEO Alan Mulally did when he changed Five Hundred back to Taurus. Very complicated stuff, no?

So, Kuga or Escape? While there are many good arguments for Escape, here's one for Kuga - Ford's One World strategy. Simply put, rather than having one Focus for Europe and one for North America, Ford is working toward offering one global vehicle per a given segment - and that's it. And naming one car one thing for one market and one car another for another is essentially a monkey wrench in the plan. What should Ford do, and more importantly what will they do? Place your vote in our poll below and leave any further thoughts in Comments.


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[source: Wards Auto]

Report: Ford dealers say Kuga should be named Escape in U.S. - Do you agree? [w/POLL] originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 30 Dec 2009 15:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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I don't think that giving it a different name in different markets is a "wrench in the plan" as long as it's the same vehicle. Really, losing the Escape name is probably a mistake...plus what the hell is a Kuga?

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Well I mean the Escape does have name recognition and a pretty good reputation, so I think it would make sense to use that name. Also, changing the badge on the assembly line isn't any harder than it would be for trim level badge variations.

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Kuga reminds me of Cujo... the evil, foamy, rabid dog.

Escape isn't so great either... can't these mindtrusts just come up with a decent name?

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Kuga reminds me of Cujo... the evil, foamy, rabid dog.

Escape isn't so great either... can't these mindtrusts just come up with a decent name?

Like Cruze and Aveo? Or maybe Spark. :P

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I don't think that giving it a different name in different markets is a "wrench in the plan" as long as it's the same vehicle. Really, losing the Escape name is probably a mistake...plus what the hell is a Kuga?

Exactly. The name of the vehicle doesn't have to be the same across the world for things to work...look at Opel/Vauxhall! Keeping the historic Vauxhall was better (and still is) than doing the Opel thing.

I mean using this guy's logic...did he think the W Buick Century and W Regal were two totally different cars? Moron.

Edited by Croc
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Escape in the US the brand equity is reason alone

the Escape quite possibly has the best brand equity currently of any Ford or Chrysler nameplate for certain. The Escape has been at the top of the sales charts for near ten years? and virtually invented the crossover category for Ford. It competes in the heart of the compact crossover market with the RAV and CRV so name recognition is crucial.

it would be absolute suicide for ford to name it anything besides escape...

HOWEVER

the Kuga appears to lack some of the product attributes that Escape owners love (i.e. macho image, large cargo hold, etc.). It is very possible that even if they keep the Escape name, the Kuga design itself will piss off some of the Escape loyal.

the interior and dash will need to be new, its already looking dated. the trunk appears tiny, like a rogue or something.

in any case, Kuga is a dumb name for any new product in the US for Ford. Its right up there in the 'wtf' column with Routan, Toaureg and Tiguan.

Edited by regfootball
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I think they should call it Mariner.

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Agreed 100%. This looks too soft for an Escape, but could do well as a Mercury Mariner. The Ford needs to look more macho.

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Agreed 100%. This looks too soft for an Escape, but could do well as a Mercury Mariner. The Ford needs to look more macho.

+1

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