Ford unveils new 2020 Escape that underpins sales turnaround strategy

By FordFOXBusiness

Ford unveils redesigned 2020 Escape

FoxNews.com Automotive Editor Gary Gastelu on the Ford's redesigned 2020 Escape.

Ford Motor Co. on Tuesday unveiled the 2020 Ford Escape, an update to the carmaker’s second most popular model and one the company hopes will reinvigorate lagging sales amid a $11 billion global restructuring effort.

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After several quarters of disappointing earnings, Ford is pinning its turnaround efforts on a new fleet -- including updates to the Ford Explorer and Lincoln Corsair, as well as the all new Ford Ranger and Lincoln Aviator.

The Escape falls just behind the F-Series pickup truck as Ford’s best-selling vehicle in the U.S. The new model aims to capitalize on the shift in consumer preference towards sports utility vehicles, as well as electric cars.

“Crossovers are the largest segment in the U.S. at nearly 40 percent of all new vehicle sales annually. Ford’s crossover lineup has gotten old relative to [General Motor’s], so the Escape and Explorer both out this year will be a big help in that regard,” David Whiston, equity strategist at Morningstar Research Services, told FOX Business.

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The Escape will be offered in both a standard hybrid and plug-in variant, along with a standard gas engine-powered model. It will have a range of roughly 30 miles in electric-only mode -- making it more ideal for city driving and daily use -- and it charges in as little as three-and-a-half hours.

The update is 200 pounds lighter than the most recent 2013 model and, while the vehicle is slightly shorter, the headroom is greater in the 2020 Escape. It will reach showrooms this Fall.

“This all-new Escape brings a sleeker, sportier design with the capability to take you on just about any of your life’s adventures,” Ford President Kumar Galhotra said in a statement. “Customers will spend less time at the gas station and more time on the road.”

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Ford is in the midst of a global restructuring effort after several quarters of declining earnings, including a loss of $116 million in the fourth quarter of 2018.

The Dearborn, Michigan-based company sold a majority stake in its joint Russian venture to Sollers and will no longer produce passenger vehicles in the country. Ford also abandoned production of heavy trucks in South America, laid off workers in Europe and the U.S., and overhauled its leadership team, appointing current Snap Inc. CFO and former Amazon executive Tim Stone to replace outgoing CFO Bob Shanks.

Shanks previously told FOX Business that improvement in 2019 should come from the Chinese, European and North American markets.

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In addition to its stagnant model lineup, the company has also faced headwinds from President Donald Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, which cost the company upwards of $1 billion last year and could add $700 billion in costs in 2019.

A no-deal Brexit could also cost the firm $1 billion.