Could the Equator Sport be the replacement of the Territory?
Needless to say, the Ford Territory is proving to be a very successful model for Ford in the Philippine market. While there are a lot of question marks about the Ford Territory being a rebadge of JMC's Yusheng S330 crossover as well as the issues in the local social media owner's group, we can't deny that the market has taken very favorably to the model with over 10,000 units sold in less than 2 years.
That brings up a question though: Does the success of the Territory in the Philippine market pave the way for Ford to source more models from JMC?
JMC is one of Ford's major joint venture partners in China (the other is Changan) and they have a variety of models. The one that we have our eyes on is the Ford Equator. So we thought we'd ask the new managing director of Ford Philippines, Mike Breen if that could be the case. He obliged... sort of.
“The company official response here is that we don't comment on future products, but at the same time why wouldn't you draw those kinds of conclusions?” said Ford's MD. “Success with any vehicle line perpetuates discussions that should happen for us to consider future products.”
Breen masterfully avoids giving too much away, but he does give insights into the strategy when it comes to managing a car company. They try to be as secretive with their future model introductions as possible because information leaking too early could affect the sales of existing models, or could prompt competitors to adjust their own model timelines to respond. But Ford's new boss in the Philippines wasn't finished.
“I will say that when we have the successes that we have with JMC -whether it's JMC, North America products, whatever it is- coming out of the semiconductor challenges and everything, we've proven with Territory that it's about the right product, right place, right time. We can get a good equation to drive successes like we have with Territory,” said the Ford Philippines Managing Director.
We wouldn't be surprised if the sales success of the Territory does (or did) open more doors for Ford to get more models from JMC like the Equator. The model just debuted last year and has a seven-seater layout, though most of the models we see have a 2.0L engine. If that's the case, it might not be able to maximize the import duty advantage of having a 1.5L like the Territory.
They might consider the Equator Sport; while it is still a 5-seater, it does have a 1.5L turbo with 170 horsepower. It might even be the replacement of the Territory in the future, but of course, Ford won't answer that directly just yet.
Mike Breen said, “It's my job and the team's job to find what other structure, what other vehicles should we consider while we look towards the future.”
Just recently Ford has been trimming down its model range in the Philippine market, namely the Transit, EcoSport, and Expedition. They will never say exactly why, but the most likely reason is that they had to prioritize because of global and regional realities. The EcoSport is an aging model (with no new generation in sight), the Transit didn't gain traction when it was launched (because of the pandemic, among others), and the Expedition is going up against much newer competitors like the LC 300.
They would rather focus on Territory, Explorer, Ranger, and Everest; actually, the new generation models of the last two nameplates are slated for launch later this year. And that means exciting times for the Ford brand again.