Ford has another ace up its sleeve.
Hot on the heels of the new 2021 Ford Bronco and Bronco Sport debuts, Ford might have yet another ace up its sleeve to reveal soon - only this time, we have very few ideas for what it could be.
In a presentation to investors and analysts on July 17, Ford included a slide entitled "Allocating Capital to Win - Michigan Assembly Plant / Hermosillo Assembly Plant" that showed discontinued legacy products - the C-MAX, Focus, Fusion, and Lincoln MKZ - next to new ones, with an up arrow showing a $1.5-billion improvement in EBIT. The new products shown are the Ford Ranger, 2021 Ford Bronco, 2021 Ford Bronco Sport, and a mystery "whitespace" vehicle draped under a sheet.
A "whitespace" vehicle in this context is any vehicle that fills a unique gap, or "white space," in Ford's lineup - a vehicle that has no equivalent in recent Ford history. This particular whitespace vehicle, which appears to have the proportions of a crossover utility vehicle, is shown with a 2021 launch.
So what is it? We don't know, but we have some ideas. It's possible that the crossover body style was used just to throw us off Ford's scent, and that the blanket-covered vehicle won't be a utility vehicle at all, but a small pickup truck to slot beneath the mid-size Ranger. It's been known for some time that Ford is working on such a vehicle, based on a unibody car platform rather than using traditional body-on-frame construction. It could be named "Maverick", "Courier", or "Ranchero", we hear.
But perhaps more likely is that this is an all-new, more affordable crossover model meant to recapture some of Ford's cost-conscious former car customers. The Ford Fiesta was priced comfortably below $20,000 brand new, but as Ford went through and eliminated every single car model from the lineup, with the lonely exception of the Mustang, the company's entry price point swelled to around $21,000 including destination.
The covered vehicle might well be a new unibody crossover with a starting MSRP below twenty grand, most likely to be built at Ford's Hermosillo Stamping & Assembly alongside the Bronco Sport. That's our best guess, but take it with a grain of salt.