It's no secret that in the last year or so, Chinese vehicles have been gradually making headway in the Philippine market. Chinese auto brands are coming (or returning) in force like GAC, Geely, Chery, and many more. Even established brands like VW, Hyundai, and Kia have started to import models made by their joint ventures in China.
But there could be another. This time it's from Ford... or at least their joint-venture with JMC.
We've learned from various contacts that Ford is seriously evaluating offering the China-made Ford Territory in the Philippine market. Yes, if it gets final approval, the Philippines would have a Ford-badged model made by JMC.
So many would be curious: what exactly is a Ford Territory?
If you've been to Australia and saw a very different SUV that isn't an Everest, an Explorer, or an Escape, then there's a good chance that it's the Territory. But the problem is that generation of Territory was killed off when Ford closed down the Geelong, Australia factory in 2016.
The Territory from China is completely unrelated from the one that Australia ceased production of, and that's because it's technically a rebadged Yusheng S330 crossover from Jiangling Motor Corporation (JMC); Ford's joint venture partner in south east China.
The 5-seater Chinese-made Territory is roughly similar in size to a Ford Escape, meaning it would fit in the gap that currently exists between the Ford EcoSport (also China-made) and the Everest. The gap is there because Ford ceased offering the U.S.-made Escape that they sold a few years ago which was the successor to the locally-made Escape (and Mazda Tribute) at the former Ford (now Mitsubishi) factory in Santa Rosa, Laguna.
There are two interesting points to know about the Chinese Ford Territory. The first is that there's a bit of a controversy because it's closely related to the X7 from JMC-owned Landwind. The Landwind X7 is an SUV that ceased production recently because Jaguar Land Rover won a case against them due to how closely it resembled the Range Rover Evoque.
The other is the engine: it may look like an EcoBoost engine, but it may not be. The engine is supposedly a Mitsubishi 4G15 albeit turbocharged. It has about 163 horsepower and is mated to either a 6-speed automatic or a 6-speed manual that has the option for either front or all wheel drive.
We do know that Ford's sales in China isn't doing as well as they'd like, so they're looking at export customers for models like the Territory. Being that China and the Philippines are left hand drive markets, we're the logical outlet for their models.
The 1.5-liter Mitsubishi engine makes it qualify for the free-trade agreement that ASEAN has with China so pricing should theoretically be very competitive. We'd guess it could do well if they priced it at PhP 1 million, or even well below it.
We'll know soon enough in the future if Ford does push through with the Territory for the Philippine market.