Ford aiming to take the Edge in Euro SUV market

Edge Concept
The shape of a future European SUV.

FORD has unveiled the likely future shape of a large SUV for the European market and give it the Edge.

The Edge Concept gives an insight in to the sort of technology it will include and the design philosophy behind a future model.

As to be expected, the Edge Concept will feature the latest technologies, among which is a remote operated parking feature which works at the touch of a button — from inside or outside the car.

Already popular in the USA and other markets, the Edge will be Ford’s first large SUV developed for Europe, one of 25 global vehicles that Ford confirmed last year will go on sale in Europe by 2017. With the Edge, new Kuga and new EcoSport, Ford will offer a comprehensive line-up of redesigned SUVs.

“The original Ford Edge offered customers in North America a fresh, compelling choice for an accommodating, efficient and safe utility vehicle,” said Joe Hinrichs, Ford president of The Americas. “The next-generation Ford Edge previewed here will build on these cornerstones to create a global vehicle with technology to make life easier, and design and craftsmanship to appeal to customers around the globe.”

Key attributes of the Ford Edge Concept — a sleek and sporty appearance, capability, fuel efficiency and technology that assist the driver — are in line with what customers value around the world, which is driving global growth in the SUV segment.

In Europe, where higher specification models currently account for 70 per cent of all Ford S‑MAX sales, the Edge will meet demand for upmarket, technologically advanced SUVs with great road presence and driving dynamics. SUVs in the region grew from 6.5 per cent to almost 12 per cent of vehicle sales between 2005 and 2012, and Ford projects that between 2013 and 2018 sales of all SUVs in Europe will increase by 22 per cent.

Driver-assist technologies and semi-automated features on the Ford Edge Concept hint at a future offering even more intelligent and capable vehicles from Ford. These sensor-based technologies form the building blocks for the future of automated driving, and will help make driving safer and more efficient.

Fully Assisted Parking Aid, a prototype technology which builds on Ford’s Active Park Assist feature to let customers park their vehicles at the touch of a button, or even by remote control. The system can find a perpendicular parking space using ultrasonic sensors and allows customers to wait until the vehicle has pulled out of a tight parking spot before entering.

Ford also has begun a research project designed to refine advanced Obstacle Avoidance systems. The research and development vehicle can issue warnings if it detects slow-moving objects or stationary obstacles in the same lane ahead and – if the driver fails to steer or brake following warnings – the system automatically steers and brakes the vehicle to avoid a collision.

Adaptive steering makes steering at low speeds dramatically easier, and steering in all conditions feel more confident and engaging.

The new Ford Edge Concept exterior is carefully sculpted, fluid and athletic. Strong shoulders add to the feel and appearance of a runner in the starting blocks. The rearward slope of the grille influences the shape of the bonnet, which is both muscular yet more compact.

The Edge Concept has a new high-tech application of Active Grille Shutters. The shutters automatically open and close to maintain ideal engine operating temperature and maximise aerodynamic efficiency. Unique air curtains on the lower part of the fascia guide air from the front of the vehicle, out through the front wheel wells and down the side of the vehicle.

The interior is expected to be packed with technology.

Premium interior elements include a leather-wrapped and hand-stitched instrument panel, 10in centre display featuring Ford SYNC with Voice Control and Touchscreen, and a dynamic centre stack with mechanical switchgear. High levels of craftsmanship and rich materials unify the Ford Edge Concept. For example, black Nubuck leather wraps the upper instrument panel, centre console and door elements.

“The Ford Edge Concept is the latest example of a utility vehicle that delivers the attributes global customers value most – design; fuel efficiency, driving dynamics, and customer-focused technology to help the driver feel more confident,” Hinrichs said.