Car News

Ford’s new car-based ute takes shape

The blue oval is close to launching a ute that’s smaller than the Ranger and based on a small-car platform.

THE FORD Falcon ute could finally have a sort-of successor if Ford’s new passenger-based utility lands down under.

But firstly, it needs to be revealed, and secondly, it has to be built in right-hand drive.

Uncovered by Automotive News, Ford has reportedly shown the new ute – codenamed ‘758’ – to around 100 Ford dealers in Tucson in the US, with a source suggesting that the model was well received by those in attendance.

It’s certainly not the first previewing of an unannounced model to some of the biggest Ford dealers in the US, with cars such as the Ford Bronco shown to the group 12 months ago.

MORE: New Ford Bronco images leaked!

However, this latest news does highlight Ford’s focus on SUVs and commercial vehicles, expanding and replacing some passenger cars with crossovers, and now allegedly entering a smaller ute to sit underneath the Ranger in showrooms come 2021.

The ute will reportedly sit on the fourth-generation Focus platform, a car that’s built in Germany and China and sold in Australia in right-hand drive. But the new ute will be built at Ford’s Hermosillo, Mexico facility with a planned production volume of 100,000 units per annum, which seems focused purely on America’s left-hook market and, like the upcoming Bronco, might not be offered here.

Suggested to be priced at just under US$20,000, it will undercut the Ranger by $5000 in US showrooms and, if the Focus platform reports are true, could offer engine options including a petrol 1.5-litre turbo triple, 2.0-litre diesel turbo or even the ST’s 2.3-litre turbo EcoBoost as a Ford Performance model.

Nameplates for the model suggested include the Courier nameplate – sold here before the Ranger went on sale and replaced it – and Ranchero. If it were to land in Australia, it could fill a niche spot as a lifestyle ute, somewhat like the Falcon ute that left showrooms when Ford Australia shuttered local production, though we doubt it would ever wear the fabled Aussie name.

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Alex Rae

Alex Rae