Is Ford's Australian division developing America's Focus-based trucklet?

19 September 2019 - Autoblog

Is Ford's Australian division developing America's Focus-based trucklet?

The model sounds like a seriously downsized Ute

Ford's Australian arm no longer builds its own cars, but it still has the ability to develop the products it's better versed in than other divisions. It's secretly working on a Focus-based pickup, according to a recent report, and we think the model stands a good chance of being sold in American showrooms.

Australian magazine Wheels caught a glimpse of engineering documents that shed light on the model. Called P758 internally, the pickup rides on an evolution of the C2 platform that underpins the current Focus, and it's powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. Performance specifications aren't available, but Wheels learned the turbo four shifts through an eight-speed automatic transmission.

The model sounds like a seriously downsized successor to the Falcon-based Ute that Ford's Australian division stopped making in 2016. That's accurate to an extent, but Wheels fears the yet-unnamed trucklet will not be sold on the Australian market. It's being developed there for Latin American markets like Mexico and Brazil, where Ford has sold economy-car-based unibody pickups in the past. And, it might make its way up to the United States and Canada for the first time.

The pickup described in the report sounds suspiciously like one of the so-called "white space vehicles" Ford is working on to fill the gaps it's creating as it deep-sixes the sedans and hatchbacks in its range. Heavily camouflaged test mules (pictured) spotted in 2018 suggested the model will arrive as a two-door with a long cargo box, though other body styles could also be offered.

Ford hasn't commented on the report, and it hasn't fully outlined what its pickup portfolio will look like during the first part of the 2020s, so finding out additional details will require patience. The Focus-based 'ute isn't the only pickup currently being designed by Ford's Australian division. The company is also spearheading the development of the next-generation Ranger, a bigger, tougher model set to spawn a new Volkswagen Amarok.

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