One in three car buyers in Europe is choosing an SUV. Unless it’s a Ford, in which case it’s more like one SUV in every five vehicles.
If you’re Ford, that’s an issue. And it would like to change it, hence a teased image for now, and an unveil for summer, of a small SUV that’ll sit halfway between the Ecosport and the new Kuga in Ford’s range.
It’s called the Puma and it’s here because Ford has got troubles in Europe. It has them less than half the time, making a profit 12 times in the past two decades, but that’s often enough for drastic action.
Talking of returns: Puma. It’s “an evocative name,” says Stuart Rowley, Ford of Europe’s new president. It’s definitely that, Stuart.
But this time, although it’s hard to truly tell from the teaser, I doubt it’s so outrageous. It’s box-ticking rather than outside-box-thinking. I don’t imagine there’ll be a Bullitt-inspired CGI advert for it. Although, with similar levels of fantasy, its adverts will probably star not a person over 30, even though hardly a person under 30 will buy one. The small SUV is now as mainstream as they come, which is why Ford needs it.
And so the name, then. Do you object? Is it sacrilegious? Well, let’s wait until we find out for sure what they decide to call the electric ‘Mustang-inspired SUV’, and reconvene then.