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.
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.