Ford's new Kuga 4x4 crossover will only be available with a single diesel and upscale specification when it comes to market in May 2008, priced at just over £20,000.
Damian Oton, Ford's medium cars' brand manager, said: “We know the Kuga will be a strong user-chooser product and we have made a conscious, strategic decision to have one body style, one engine (the 136PS, 2.0-litre TDCi) and the single six-speed manual transmission.”
Only Zetec and Titanium specifications will be on offer, with Ford hoping to repeat the experience of its S-max where more than half of initial sales involved the Titanium package.
Ford is determined to secure high RVs for “what is virtually a brand in its own right” with annual sales for the all-wheel-drive, five-seater predicted at between 6000 and 8000 units.
And although the Blue Oval has yet to define its business car strategy for the Kuga, Oton expects “well below half” of Kugas to be fleet purchases.
Oton said: “We are aiming for volumes which will not dilute Kuga's aspirational character. This is a clear statement that we will not schlock it out in big numbers like old Ford did. This is new Ford.”
Ford's strategists are taking a pragmatic stance with the Kuga, emphasising the company's green credentials with the higher economy, lower CO2 diesel version while knowing that the 4x4 crossover market attracts few petrol customers.
Towards the end of next year or at the beginning of 2009 a high-performance 2.5-litre, five-cylinder 220PS petrol version is likely.