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Ford B-max breaks mould

Date: 19 September 2011   |   Author: Rachel Burgess

Ford's B-max, a multi-activity vehicle due in September 2012, will hopefully break out of the niche Motability market in which many of its current rivals are stuck, says new UK managing director Mark Ovenden. "We have high hopes for the B-max. No manufacturer has made a MAV business work in retail and user chooser fleet," he said.

While Ovenden said he was naturally keen to take Motability business, he also believes the B-max, nominally replacing the Fusion, can appeal to user choosers too. "Cars like the Nissan Note, Renault Scenic or Vauxhall Zafira - none of them have cracked the user chooser market. We have a cool city vehicle with great fuel economy and CO2 that will drive well. It's an exciting vehicle for us."

The car will feature Ford's new 1.0-litre turbocharged Ecoboost engine, which will first be available in 100hp and 120hp versions of the Focus early next year, with CO2 emissions expected to be sub-120g/km. The brand has also recently announced a 87g/km Fiesta and 89g/km Focus, due in late 2012, using the 1.6 TDCi diesel and Ford's low-CO2 Econetic badging.

Ovenden, who replaced predecessor Nigel Sharp in July, said fleet orders for the 114g/km Mondeo were picking up, as were Focus sales, particularly with user choosers. He added that supply of diesel had been a problem "right across the fleet market this year" but was "starting to improve", which, for Ford, particularly affected the Focus, Mondeo, S-max and Galaxy.

Meanwhile, Ford recently revealed its Evos concept at the Frankfurt motor show. The brand hinted that design elements of the four-door 'fastback' car would be unveiled on a production model in four months, expected to be either the new Mondeo or Vertrek, the concept for the Kuga replacement.

The brand also revealed its new Fiesta ST and Focus ST, with Ford announcing the latter would come with an estate version added to the line-up. On sale next year, the Focus ST has cut fuel consumption and emissions by more than 20% compared with its predecessor.

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