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Ford shows off Vertrek concept car, announces details and C-Max, electric Focus and C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid:

DETROIT — Ford has been leaking advance images of its two main launches, the C-Max and electric Focus, for the past few weeks.

But today marked the first public display of its small sport utility vehicle concept, the Vertrek. A vehicle that will replace the Escape in this country and the Kuga in Europe, a production version of the vehicle will be on sale toward the end of this year.

If the Vertrek is the lovechild of the Kuga and the Escape, the Escape could be forgiven for seeking a paternity test. The concept takes almost all of its design cues from the Kuga.

Ford executive talks about Vertek concept vehicle Ford executive talks about Vertek concept vehicle Martin Smith, executive director of design for Ford of Europe and Asia Pacific talks about the company’s Vertek concept vehicle, the basis for next year’s Escape small sport utility vehicle. Watch video
Ford executives said going with the European design is just another stage in the Escape’s evolution. Though Ford has always marketed the small vehicle as an SUV, it’s really always been a crossover, a car-based vehicle.

With earlier versions of the car, Ford did everything possible to imply truck — giving the car an oversized grille, luggage racks and an aerodynamically inefficient shape.

The Kuga, on the other hand, has always been a crossover, and it has embraced that styling over its many generations.
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