Earlier this year we brought you the first spy shots of a mystery new SUV for Europe.
All we knew at the time was that it was based on the latest Fiesta and would launch in European markets in 2020. We now have fresh details about the B-segment SUV, courtesy of a new report from Automotive News Europe that sheds more light on the project.
Citing French analyst firm Inovev, the report claims the small SUV will be built at Ford’s plant in Craiova, Romania and could be called Puma. Last year, Ford applied for a couple of trademarks for the Puma moniker in Australia and New Zealand. In Europe, Ford sold a Puma small coupe (also based on the Fiesta) between 1997 and 2002.
According to the same source, the new SUV is scheduled to debut at the Frankfurt Auto Show in September as a replacement for the EcoSport. Since the EcoSport currently sold in European markets is built at the Craiova plant as well, these new pieces of the puzzle seem to fall into place.
Europe’s Puma will be a distinct model from the “baby Bronco” that will launch in the United States in the coming years. However, the rugged compact SUV could come to Europe later on as a Jeep Renegade rival. Ford has announced that higher-riding cars will be central to its restructuring plans in Europe as the company strives for consistent profitability in the region.
“Crossovers and SUVs are an area consumers are moving towards and we will continue to grow and develop that business,” Ford of Europe CEO Steve Armstrong said earlier this month when the company announced its latest restructuring plan for Europe. Ford will focus on SUVs and commercial vehicles in Europe and will quit the MPV segment.