Ford will blow the European middle-market wide open in 2006 with a radical new family of vehicles. The company is working on a revolutionary replacement for the Galaxy MPV, as well as breaking completely new ground with a high-roof estate that could give the Blue Oval brand the biggest boost it’s had in many years.
This station wagon – the final name is still under discussion – is known internally as the SAV 5 – a five-seat Sport Activity Vehicle that ‘splits the difference between a conventional estate car and an SUV’.
Ford has already launched similar vehicles in the US (the Freestyle) and in Australia (the Territory, see p10). Product planners think that Ford will kick off a new European trend as buyers begin to reject the conventional SUV for social and environmental reasons, but still want a spacious family holdall that has more than a hint of rugged all-round ability.
According to confidential documents in Autocar’s possession, the SAV will have a wide choice of engines and drivetrains, from a new 2.0-litre petrol engine through to a 2.5-litre five-pot unit borrowed from Volvo (see box, below). There will also be an extensive range of diesel engines, including a new generation of oil burners called DW.
In standard form, the SAV will have five seats, leaving seven-seat duties for the new Galaxy. However, Autocar understands that there is a version of the car called SAV 5+2, which indicates the probable inclusion of rear-facing child seats.
But the SAV is just part of a much bigger project. Our Ford documents state that the SAV platform is known as the C1+ and explained that this structure is based on the Ford Focus’s C1 platform with an extended wheelbase, more sophisticated crash structure and reduced levels of NVH (noise, vibration and harshness). It also confirms that this platform is shared between Volvo, Land Rover and Ford. Volvo is expected to use the chassis for the next S60, V70 and S80, as well as the much-rumoured baby XC90 4x4, the XC50. Land Rover will use it for the all-new Freelander replacement.
Ford’s two C1+ spin-offs are dubbed the CD340 project. One is the SAV and the other is the seven-seat Galaxy replacement. Both cars are known internally as a ‘Multi Activity Combis’ (MAC), although Ford is reserving the ‘Luxury Multipurpose Vehicle’ (LMV) DC tag for the Galaxy. A concept version of the ‘dramatic’ new Galaxy should appear at the Geneva Motor Show in 2005.
The two models sit on a common wheelbase and have a common understructure from the nose to the B-pillar, but the rear section of the platforms differ. This is likely to be because the new Galaxy has to have provision for a third row of seats.
Four-wheel drive – which will be used on the Freelander – should be an option on the SAV, although the new Galaxy might not have room under the boot floor to accommodate the rear driveshafts.
There will be a very wide choice of transmissions offered in the CD340 programme. Autocar understands that these will include a base five-speed MTX-75 ’box and a six-speed M66 transmission. Engineers are also working on a Continuously Variable Transmission called CFT26 and a conventional six-speed automatic codenamed AWF21. But the real surprise is the MMT6 transmission, which insiders say is a dual-clutch unit similar to VW’s DSG ’box. It’s thought that this new unit will be built at Jaguar’s Halewood factory. This unexpected £115m transmission investment at Halewood has just been announced by Ford.
Ford is aiming for a 100,000-mile warranty on the car’s engines and transmissions, and is planning extended service intervals of two years or 18,000 miles for both petrol and diesel engines.
Specifications will be exceptionally plush and high-tech. Ford is working on an Active Driver Assistance pack which includes adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning and ‘collision mitigation’. The latter tightens the seatbelts and applies the brakes if it senses an unavoidable crash.
Ford expects to shift 56,000 SAVs and 37,000 LMVs each year.