We’re calling it the ‘Focute’ and you can’t stop us.
American carmaker Ford has finally put the rumours to rest and confirmed that it is indeed working on a sub-Ranger ‘compact ute’ for developing markets, thanks to a comment by the company’s marketing & sales boss. Jim Farley dropped the confirmation during an industry conference in Detroit, where he said that we can “expect new nameplates below where [Ford] competes today,” and that Ford is “investing in more affordable versions of [Ford’s] truck business.”
The first rumours of the Focute surfaced in late 2018, claiming that such a model had already completed its first phase of engineering, with prototype road testing to follow. Spyshots then began to surface showing a low-riding but definitely-ute vehicle, with very heavy came and what appeared to be weight loading down the chassis.
While Farley’s comments were reported by Automotive News, it’s been widely speculated that the Focute, which will sit on top of an elongated Focus chassis (hence the name), will be powered by either a 1.5-litre or 2.0-litre EcoBoost petrol mill, with front-wheel drive as standard and all-wheel drive as an option.
The ute is also speculated to go into production at the Ford plant in Mexico in a couple of years, with export markets including the United States and South America. Its debut is pegged for Brazil where car-based utes are still going strong, and it’s tentatively scheduled for a 2021 showing. Any other markets will follow the Brazil debut, of course.
Likelihood of the Focute coming to Australia? Slim to none we reckon, given that the Ranger lineup is already wide enough to service any and all applications. Further, the Ranger is (to us at least) one of the most refined and car-like mainstream utes on the market, and the additional usability that comes with proper ladder-frame construction and torquey-diesel engine is not to be ignored.