Published on July 23rd, 2020 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Ford Territory With 1.5L Engine Might Be Launched Here
Please do not be confused with the Australian-designed-and-developed SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle) which underwent an extensive visual update inside and out in 2012. That version of the Territory wore a stylish suit cut from Ford’s kinetic design language and its bold look made it instantly recognisable as a member of Ford’s comprehensive model family. The Ford Territory was first unveiled in 2004 and carried a 4.0L petrol engine and a 2.7L diesel engine.
More than 178,000 Ford Territories were sold in Australia up to its 2016 retirement and only a very small number arrived in Malaysia as company cars for Ford Malaysia executives when their office was in operation.
Now this all new Ford Territory you see here is actually a joint venture between the Jiangling Motor Corporation(JMC) and Ford. Ford has made it pretty clear that the two bear no link whatsoever.
Much like how the Fiesta, Focus and Mondeo is American by name but European by nature, the Territory that would most likely make it to our shores is American by name and Chinese by nature.
On the outside, the Territory looks like a shrunk down version of the American Ford Edge crossover. The front of this mid-sized SUV is unmistakably Ford with the hexagonal honeycomb grille flanked by LED headlights.
The rear meanwhile borrows some styling cues from the Range Rover Evoque. A large chrome bar runs across the tailgate with the Territory script above it, and either side of the bar are angular LED taillights. 18 inch wheels, plastic body cladding all around and front and rear metal-like skid plates completes the chunky look of this pseudo off-roader.
Powered by a 1.5 litre Ecoboost turbocharged four cylinder mated to CVT gearbox, the new Blue Oval crossover is set to make 140 hp and 225 Nm of torque driving the front wheels only. More importantly for buyers of this segment, Ford also claims that the new Territory with this engine could achieve up to 15 kilometres per litre under mixed driving conditions, with the possible 48 V mild hybrid or the rumoured all-electric variant achieving even better fuel economy. No all wheel drive variant is on the horizon for this crossover though.
Continuing on the inside, this 5-seater crossover from the Blue Oval is much like others in its segment, with leather and wood interlaid with some chrome plastic trim. The dash design is nothing special but it does come with the usual conveniences like a 10.1 inch infotainment system with voice command, TFT instrument cluster, wireless charging, FordPass Connect for 4G connectivity, leather seats with front ventilated seats and a panoramic moon roof.
The Territory also comes with the usual safety acronyms as it comes as standard with Ford’s CoPilot 360 safety suite. This brings with it a 360º surround view camera, Adaptive Cruise Control, Pre-Collision Assist, Forward Collision Warning, Blind Spot Information System, Lane Departure Warning, Hill Start Assist and Active Park Assist for both parallel and perpendicular parking.
Already launched in Brazil and Argentina, with an upcoming launch in the Philippines, this new Ford Territory might also make its ways to our shores. Furthermore, with Ford’s global shift away from the compact car and sedan market towards trucks and SUVs only and Ford Malaysia only selling the Ford Ranger pick-up at the moment, this Ford Territory does seem like a good fit in the local line up.
And to those who say that this will be a repeat of the Ford Escape or Ford Kuga sales story, it may not necessarily be the case. As thanks to its Chinese nature, the Territory starts from only 109,800 yuan (RM67,000) to a more reasonable 164,800 yuan (RM100,000) for the top spec model. Even with the inevitable import taxes and duties, this new Ford Territory might be a serious alternative to the current SUV offerings from Honda, Mazda Volkswagen and also Proton.
PRESS RELEASE: Ford developed the Territory together with its joint venture partner, Jiangling Motors Corporation (JMC), a collaboration that melded JMC’s deep insights into new Chinese customers’ tastes with Ford’s global expertise in vehicle design, engineering, testing and manufacturing.
“The Territory is a breakthrough for Ford in China in terms of our ability to successfully compete with Chinese automakers for millions of customers that we do not currently serve,” said Peter Fleet, president, Asia Pacific and chairman & CEO, Ford China. “Territory is a key proof point for how we will grow in China. We brought Territory to market with speed, high quality and cost efficiency. It will be affordable for young families and new buyers across China, not just the coastal mega-cities. And the technology will delight customers.”
JMC provided insights into Chinese customers’ lifestyles and product preferences, while the Ford team leveraged its global expertise to design, engineer, and test Territory at Ford’s testing centers in Nanjing, China and Melbourne, Australia. The all-new SUV will be manufactured at JMC’s Xiao Lan plant, which meets Ford’s meticulous global manufacturing standards.
Territory customers can choose between a fuel-efficient gasoline engine option, 48V mild hybrid with Miller-Cycle technology, and a plug-in hybrid powertrain when it goes on sale in early 2019.
It also will offer Ford’s infotainment system with intuitive Mandarin voice-command function, Co-Pilot360TM suite of driver assistance technologies, incorporating features such as Adaptive Cruise Control and FordPass Connect with embedded modem.
AIMING AT THE HEART OF CHINA’S AUTO GROWTH
While China remains the world’s largest automotive market, the greatest growth in demand for automobiles will come not from traditional ‘Tier 1’ cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, which have implemented license plate restrictions to manage traffic congestion, but rather from smaller but fast-growing cities in the interior of the country.
The number of registered passenger vehicles in Chinese cities with no license plate restrictions is expected to soar to about 23.7 million in 2020, up from 10.8 million in 2010, according to IHS Markit’s latest China Provincial Forecast1. In contrast, vehicle registrations in restricted cities is expected to fall to 1.6 million in 2019, from a peak of 2.2 million in 2010.
For these buyers, the midsize SUVs such as Ford Territory is a highly popular choice. According to McKinsey’s China auto consumer survey 20172, the midsize SUV segment saw an annual growth rate of 38 percent in China between 2012 to 2016. Indigenous Chinese automakers in particular have capitalized on this trend.
For the first time, Chinese customers will be able to purchase a very competitive Ford in the entry-level, mid-size SUV segment at an affordable price.
“The new Ford Territory shows what can be achieved when two global companies collaborate closely, bringing their respective strengths to meet the needs of a broad spectrum of Chinese consumers,” said Qiu Tiangao, chairman of JMC.
The Territory further expands the Ford SUV family lineup, which is composed of Ford EcoSport, Ford Kuga, Ford Edge, Ford Explorer and Ford Everest, to further meet the diversified needs of Chinese consumers.
NEW DESIGN TAILORED TO CHINESE TASTES
In the Territory, Ford’s design team delivers a fresh exterior appearance, instilling Ford design DNA that appeals to Chinese consumers. The front of the vehicle features the signature Ford mesh grille, flanked by LED lights. Outboard graphic features house the uniquely shaped LED daytime running lamp and turn indicators, emphasizing the vehicle’s solid stance.
The rear of the vehicle is highlighted by strong horizontal lines, emphasizing the width and stance. A lower skid plate integrates outboard bright graphic elements and serves as a reminder of the Territory’s SUV capability. The accent finishes on the grille and contemporary Ford color palette offer contrast, depth and a richness to the vehicle.
Ford’s engineering DNA is evident in a Ford-tuned suspension, which is set for exceptional ride comfort and refinement.
The Territory has also been rigorously tested in its ride, handling and NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) levels at Ford’s testing centers in Nanjing, China and Melbourne, Australia, to ensure it meets Ford’s stringent engineering and quality standards.
The new Ford Territory is part of Ford’s China 2025 plan to launch more than 50 new vehicles in the country by 2025.
Research and Text by Joshua Chin