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Ford gloom hides people carrier revolution? March 17, 2009

Posted by Richard Aucock in Clues in the news.
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Ford says it’s cutting Focus production at its Valencia plant, centralising producing at the Saarlouis plant. That’s in reaction to an overall sales fall of 22 per cent in the first months of 2009.

But, hold on. Dealers report they can’t get enough Fiestas – the new car’s in incredibly short supply. And where’s it built? Valencia, amongst others.

ford-gloom-hides-people-carrier-revolutionFord can thus use some of the Focus capacity to bolster Fiesta numbers.

That’s good news.

There are more revelations, too. Ford says it’s going to phase out production of the C-Max at Saarlouis, and shift production of 2010’s new model (drawn from Geneva’s Iosis Max concept) at Valencia. This one is a bit harder to read.

The current C-Max is based on the Focus platform – of which, says Ford, production of all derivatives of the next generation one will be based at Saarlouis.

So, what does this mean for the C-Max?

–    It will use a variation of the Fiesta platform? – Unlikely: It’s simply not big enough.
–    It will continue to use a revised version of the current platform? – Fair: Volkswagen’s done this with the Golf Mk6.
–    It is to be built on an all-new platform, underpinning further as-yet unnamed Fords? – Possible: By separating C-Max construction from the constraints of the Focus, it can grow, incorporate seven seats and greater flexibility for expansion into other sectors.

Time will reveal all. But while Ford’s move may seem a direct reaction to an under-pressure market at the moment, I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a bit more to it than that.

Here’s one to throw out there right away. The Iosis Max concept had sliding rear doors, and no central B-pillar, for easier access. Not to mention a fiendishly clever boot. Both something the Focus platform would be unlikely to accommodate. Does this move signify they will be carried through to production..?