Crossover & Midsize

The Bronco Sport Could Be Killing Another Ford SUV

Ford isn’t performing that well. In fact, the legendary F-150 isn’t selling like it used to, and some think the Blue Oval is in trouble. The automaker has already eliminated most of its sedans. And now some of its SUVs, like the Escape, might be next.

What happened? The Escape was once one of Ford’s most popular SUVs. Could the new Bronco Sport be responsible for taking out its sibling, or is there something else at play?

The Ford Escape is losing some of its appeal

RELATED: U.S. News Likes the 2021 Ford Escape Hybrid Over the Honda CR-V Hybrid

The Ford Escape didn’t have a great 2020. In fact, it was abysmal.

According to iSeeCars.com, 90.4 percent of 2020 Ford Escape models are still sitting on dealer lots. Though the Escape wasn’t the only vehicle to lag in sales last year, it tops the list.

Other Ford models, such as EcoSport, Expedition, Ranger, Expedition Max, and F-150, also made the list. In fact, Ford was the automaker that performed the worst in terms of the most 2020 models still unsold. It has left some observers pondering if Ford will join the long list of failed automakers.

iSeeCars executive analyst Karl Brauer stresses the Blue Oval’s dire situation: “Ford Escape sales dropped by 26 percent in 2020 compared to 2019, and Ford didn’t begin production of the 2021 version until early January. The normally popular Ford Escape also has new competition within Ford’s own product line, with the all-new 2021 Ford Bronco Sport making headlines and spurring interest.”

The Bronco Sport’s debut might account for the Escape’s poor performance

RELATED: What’s the Difference Between the Ford Bronco Sport and the Escape?

Competition is fierce in the auto world. But things take on a whole new meaning when the competition is between two vehicles from the same automaker. And that’s what’s happening with the Ford Bronco Sport and Escape.

Though the Escape has been popular for years, it’s now taking a back seat to the brand-new Bronco Sport. It has its share of flaws, but the new-kid appeal has been consuming consumers’ and critics’ attention.

It’s hard to compete with that, especially given the Bronco Sport can go off-road. Its performance chops remain untested, but it’s still superior to the Escape in that regard. Is that the only reason the Escape isn’t performing well, however? And is the Escape about to get the boot?

Is there still a place for the Escape?

RELATED: The Ford Escape is the Practical Version of the Bronco Sport

Given the Escape’s poor 2020 sales, it might make sense that Ford is questioning whether this compact crossover SUV still has a place in the lineup. Ford isn’t afraid to cut poor performers, after all. It didn’t hesitate to kill the Mercury brand, and that’s just one example of the many Ford-based vehicles that are no more. 

Though it’s certainly possible the Bronco Sport is responsible for the Escape’s poor performance, there’s another explanation: COVID-19. The pandemic hit the auto industry in more ways than one, and the Escape wasn’t the only casualty.

Still, it might be too early to write the Escape off just yet. The SUV segment is booming, and the auto industry is recovering from last year’s early sales slog. The Escape is also recovering, as the 2021 model is a fun ride that might just be able to hold its own against the Bronco Sport.