Ford won’t have a rival to the best-selling Toyota RAV4 and Mazda CX-5 in Australia by the end of 2023.

    The brand has confirmed it’ll axe the Escape locally before the end of this year, just over 20 years after it debuted Down Under. Both the petrol model and its plug-in hybrid twin will be axed.

    “We don’t make those nameplate decisions and those brand decisions lightly. We go through a very rigorous process, with multiple factors that go into making those decisions,” Ford Australia boss Andrew Birkic told media. “We believe now is the right time.”

    Ford hasn’t provided a full explanation for why it plans to leave one of Australia’s most popular new car segments, but Mr Birkic confirmed supply of the Spanish-built Escape (or a lack thereof) is at least partly to blame.

    The same issue was to blame for the death of the Fiesta ST and Focus ST.

    “Supply is one factor. We look at multitudes, we don’t take these decisions lightly,” Mr Birkic told CarExpert.

    An updated Escape has been revealed for the USA with a fresh face and more interior technology, but the car’s future more broadly has recently been called into doubt on the back of comments from global CEO Jim Farley. In the US market, it also has an in-house rival in the Bronco Sport.

    The Escape is currently an underperforming member of one of Australia’s most competitive new car segments.

    To date Ford has sold 474 examples of the Escape in Australia, putting it in line with the Skoda Karoq and Cupra Formentor on the sales charts.

    The best-selling Mazda CX-5 is sitting on 6706 deliveries to date, with the heavily supply constrained Toyota RAV4 behind it on 5851.

    This isn’t the first time Ford has killed the Escape name in Australia.

    The first-generation model (twinned with the Mazda Tribute) was sold locally between 2001 and 2012, before the name went on hiatus in favour of the Kuga badge applied to Ford’s mid-sized SUV in Europe during 2012.

    The Kuga experiment was short-lived though, with Ford Australia bringing the Escape badge back on a facelifted Kuga in 2016.

    Although it’s killing the Escape, Ford won’t be leaving the mid-sized SUV segment entirely. The Mustang Mach-E will touch down late in 2023, but it’ll be pure electric instead of petrol and PHEV-powered.

    MORE: Everything Ford Escape

    Scott Collie

    Scott Collie is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Scott studied journalism at RMIT University and, after a lifelong obsession with everything automotive, started covering the car industry shortly afterwards. He has a passion for travel, and is an avid Melbourne Demons supporter.

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