Ford, which recently tasted success in the European market after a long, hard fight, is putting even more resources behind its attempts to capture market share across the pond. The company just unveiled the new C-MAX and Grand C-MAX to European customers, both of which are compact, economical vehicles, perfectly designed for the tight and crowded streets of Europe’s dense cities.
The unveiling brought with it the announcement that the C-Max and Grand C-Max will be outfitted with either a 1.5-liter EcoBoost gasoline engine or a 1.5-liter TDCi diesel engine (which we won’t get), which reduces emissions and increases fuel economy. The C-MAX family, which first hit European markets in 2003, has sold more than 1.2 million units over the years, and has helped Ford secure a foothold on the continent.
“C-MAX has earned a reputation for providing a balance of great fuel economy, responsive, sporty handling and a flexible, roomy interior package,” said Stephen Odell, Ford executive vice president for Europe, Middle East, and Africa in a press release. “All powertrains benefit from CO2 improvements without sacrificing any of the car’s great driving dynamics.”
Keeping the car’s dynamics intact was a very important thing for Ford’s engineers to ensure, but also to add to what both vehicles already offer. The five-passenger C-MAX and seven-passenger Grand C-MAX will keep their signature twin sliding doors, as well as the ‘walk-through’ seat design that allows for greater convenience and adaptability for passengers. New extras are being added to the fold, like heated steering wheel, acoustic dampening material to cut down on noise in the interior, and an Active Park Assist system.
“The new C-MAX has received its most significant remodeling to date and is now more comfortable, more practical, and delivers the best driving experience in its segment,” says director of design for Ford Europe Joel Piaskowski. “We are committed to delivering clean, and intuitive interiors across the entire Ford line-up and C-MAX is the latest vehicle to benefit from our comprehensive restyling [program].”
It’s likely that the updated C-MAX and Grand C-MAX will play an integral role in Ford’s European strategy going forward. As previously mentioned, the company has long battled to gain profitability in Europe, and only recently has actually had success. Although Ford has struggled in other overseas markets, namely South America, executives were very pleased with a second-quarter profit on European soil.
“With the exception of South America, we had improved results across all the other automotive business units, and we had a couple that were real stand-outs in record quarter profits in North America and in Asia-Pacific,” said Robert Shanks, Ford’s chief financial officer during an interview with the Cheat Sheet a couple of months ago, regarding Ford’s second-quarter earnings.
“Of course, I can’t pass by the fact that even though it was a small number, we had a profit in Europe,” he added.
Profits and sales have remained strong at home, possibly piggybacking off the failures of the company’s chief domestic rival, General Motors. Set back in large fashion by a number of recalls this year, General Motors has paid for it in the way of dropping sales and revenue. Ford, on the other hand, has continued to ride a wave of victories, including seeing the F-150 pickup continue its seemingly endless reign as the best-selling vehicle in America.
Naturally, Europeans are not as big of fans of pickup trucks as Americans, and that’s where the redesigned C-MAX family comes into play. Models will go on sale in early 2015, and it will be interesting to see how consumers respond. If Ford can string together a series of profitable quarters in Europe, it may fully supplant itself as a dominant domestic player on the international auto scene.