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 Ford 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. 

More SUVs are part of that action. Other parts are more electrification, spending less money, and canning models – Ford Ka+, Ford B-Max and Ford C-Max – that no longer make a financial return.

Talking of returns: Puma. It’s “an evocative name,” says Stuart Rowley, Ford of Europe’s new president. It’s definitely that, Stuart. 

You’ll remember, perhaps hold a soft spot in your heart, for the original Puma. It was Ford Fiesta-based and of its moment, funky to look at and agile to drive. The new one might be some or all of those.

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.

Read more

More details on the Puma SUV

New Ford Kuga revealed with fresh design and hybrid option

Ecosport review