LOS ANGELES — The 2013 Ford Escape, which will be produced in Louisville, made its global debut Wednesday at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
The automaker has high expectations for the redesigned crossover: Ford completely reworked and updated the small utility vehicle, giving it a more modern and European design. It might look different, but the Escape has strong name recognition as the top-selling sport wagon/crossover in the United States.
Ford invested $639 million in the Louisville plant and plans to add a third shift to handle production of the Escape and another product, probably a Lincoln crossover.
The 2013 Escape will go on sale first in North America in the first half of 2012. Its pricing was not announced.
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Customers wanted better styling and fuel economy for the Escape, which the new version provides, said Mark Fields, Ford president of The Americas. The new Escape has a 3,500-pound towing capacity but gets an additional 5 miles per gallon, a 20 percent improvement. Three engine options are offered.
"I think they are positioning the Escape as a more refined but affordable alternative to the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4," said product analyst Dave Sullivan of AutoPacific in Ann Arbor, Mich.