By Jeff Gilbert

DEARBORN — (WW) Ford takes the wraps off of an all-new version of its Edge crossover, with plans to take on the world.

“With the steady growth in utilities around the world, and global customers converging, we saw this opportunity to re-introduce Edge as a global vehicle on a global platform,” said Ford vice president of product development Raj Nair.

Nair speaking at an event in Dearborn, as the Edge was also being unveiled in Europe.

The Edge is already being sold in China, with Ford expecting the new model to increase its presence there.

“With that in mind, the all new Edge is designed and engineered to serve customer needs and meet higher expectations in these markets and more,” said Nair.

Ford’s Edge launched in North America in 2006, and has seen steady growth.

“Edge continues to sell at the top of its game,” said Ford President of the Americas Joe Hinrichs. “You know we sell more Edges than Murano, Crosstour and Venza combined.”

Ford showed a concept version of the new Edge at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show. The production version has similar styling, but a different interior.

“It is the best selling five-passenger medium utility in southern California, and commands the highest share of the segment in the LA region,” said Hinrichs.

The new Edge is sleeker, a little longer, and has a lot of new equipment available, including a front camera, blind spot detection, and Ford’s second generation park assist, that parks the vehicle with the touch of a button.

Ford will also have an upscale Titanium trim of the Edge for the first time.

“We’ve seen an increasing demand for more premium offerings,” said Nair. “Customers tell us they love the technology and the look and feel of our Titanium offerings on Fusion and Escape and Flex.”

Sport Utilities and Crossovers have been top selling models in the United States for more than twenty years. They are now starting to catch on in other markets. Ford says global sales of utilities are up 87 percent since 2008. That’s a growth rate three times that of other vehicles.

Ford Vice President of Marketing Jim Farley says that utilities are the only major growth segment in Europe. By 2018, China is expected to be the largest utility market in the world, with one out of every three utilities being sold in China.

“Edge has been a huge opportunity for our global growth.”

Buyers of SUV’s and Crossovers, Farley says, will stretch their budget more than most buyers.

“In their eyes it means, kinda leaving the ordinary life for a dream use of the product.”

The 2015 Ford Edge will come standard with a 2.0 Liter EcoBoost Engine. It will have an optional 2.6 Liter V-6 EcoBoost and a normally aspirated 3.5 Liter V-6. The vehicle will come with a diesel in Europe. But there are no plans to make the diesel engine available in the U.S.

The 2015 Edge is a very big launch for Ford.

“Twenty nine per cent of our nameplates globally are utilities,” said Farley. “So this is a really big part of Ford’s business.”

Connect with Jeff Gilbert
Twitter: @jefferygilbert


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