The Ford Escape is a perennial wallflower in the mid-sized SUV segment but Ford says its fortunes could turn around as supply improves.
“If you go back to when we launched it, it was doing well, with strong levels of customer inquiry and some of the write-ups are fantastic, and some of the comparisons,” Ford Australia president Andrew Birkic told CarExpert.
“[But it’s the] supply chain, again, we keep coming back to that. [It] has really impacted that vehicle for us.
“We are getting some now, and you know, we’re pretty confident with that vehicle.”
Ford says supply improved in June, with the company currently taking orders for fourth quarter 2022 arrivals.
The exception is the Escape PHEV, for which orders placed today will result in deliveries in 2023.
Ford also advises 2023 arrivals of the PHEV may be subject to pricing and/or specification changes.
To the end of August, Ford sold 1340 Escapes, up 8.4 per cent on the same period last year.
That saw it narrowly outsold by the also European-sourced Volkswagen Tiguan (1423).
“In terms of VFACTS, it’s something that we’re not fixated on because we can only sell what we get right now. And that’s what we’re aiming on,” said Mr Birkic.
“I’m pretty confident that the more we get, the customers will drive it and they’re really going to love that vehicle.”
The current Escape was launched in November 2020, but it has failed to arrest a sales slide that has been in effect since 2017, when Ford ditched the European Kuga nameplate in Australia and resurrected the Escape name.
Ford sold 4987 Escapes in 2017 but just 1673 in 2021, the first full year of the latest generation – albeit a year marked by supply chain disruptions.
With the introduction of the long-delayed PHEV last year, Ford now has an entry into the mid-sized PHEV SUV segment – long dominated by the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, but now with an increasing number of entrants.
Given some prototypes have been spied completely undisguised, a reveal sometime this year appears likely.