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Ford Vetrek the new Escape

Ford?s local arm will market the Escape in a two model SUV line-up positioned under the renewed Territory.

Based on the C Platform of the new Focus and C-Max, it is light years from the dowdy, aging model it will replace.

The compact Vertrek goes into North American production this year after which it replaces the popular Kuga in Europe.

While Asia-Pacific release details are not finalised, the Vertrek’s chief designer Kemal Curic inadvertently let slip to Australian journalists that it will be known in our part of the world as the Escape.

In line the Ford’s North American strategy, the Blue Oval’s local arm will market the Escape in a two model SUV line-up positioned under the renewed Territory.

While the Vertrak concept seen this week in Dearborn, Michigan, is highly stylised, with only four seats and no B-pillar, Curic says: "You’re not going to see all the details, but let's say 80 per cent will be in the production vehicle."

Touches unlikely to reach us include seat accents "inspired" by the leather shorts sported by Bavarians at the October Fest. Those that will include a steering wheel, switchgear and centre console similar to the new Focus, which is due in Australia in the third quarter of this year.

With its dual shoulder lines and the low profile, Curic says the Vetrek is intended to evoke both a "sport utility and a sport car. I think it is cool."

The Escape will be built in the US, China and Europe with Australia-bound models sourced from the latter, at least initially. Engines will certainly include one of the new Eco Boost four cylinder, direct injection turbo-charged units, such as the one scheduled later this year from the Falcon. The automatic transmission choice would be a six-speed twin clutch.

Ford communication manager Mark Schirmer says: "really it makes sense to have a two (SUV) strategy. Here you can only buy the Explorer (the next size up from Escape) with seven seats."

The Escape will be one of 10 models Ford will build off its C Platform as the company rationalises its global passenger vehicle line-ups.