A new trademark filing hints at the new model's name.
Automakers including Nissan, Toyota, and Audi have all reaffirmed their commitment to the sedan body style. Ford, however, has chosen to abandon traditional sedans and hatchbacks in its North American lineup. Time will tell if this was the right decision. Focusing instead on SUVs, crossovers, pickup trucks, and the long-popular Ford Mustang, the Blue Oval is also investing heavily in future electric vehicles. The Ford Mustang Mach-E is only the beginning. But there could still be another segment the company may re-enter, the station wagon. Towards the end of last year, reports indicated Ford was testing a mystery station wagon in the US featuring a lifted suspension.
Auto Guide has further learned that Ford trademarked the name Stormtrak in Europe at around the same time. Does this mean Ford is developing a rival to the Subaru Outback and, perhaps, the new Audi A6 allroad? It's hard to say for sure, but the hot-selling Outback has long been a source of envy amongst competitors.
A J.D. Power survey last year revealed that only 1.4 percent of all new car sales in America were wagons. However, Outback sales made up 85.7 percent of that amount. In other words, the Outback has no serious competition. Has Ford decided it should have some? It's an interesting idea, though Ford never comments on future product.
The last time Ford attempted to sell a wagon in the US was in 2009 with the Taurus X. It also featured a raised ride height and optional all-wheel drive. Although it wasn't a bad vehicle, it did next to nothing to lure away Subaru Outback customers. The just discontinued Ford Flex replaced the Taurus X as a wagon-like offering. Ford definitely has the capabilities, such as platform and engine choices, to launch an off-road-focused wagon, though we'd be surprised if it did.
The combined crossover lineup of the EcoSport, Escape, and Edge is more than sufficient. The still-unnamed Escape-based "Baby Bronco" will also debut in the coming months. As for the Stormtrak name, automakers patent nameplates on a regular basis and they're not always used for production models. The timing of the trademark and the mystery wagon sightings could be entirely coincidental. We'll keep our eyes and ears open for any new details.