CRAIOVA, Romania – Ford’s ingenious new B-MAX is the company’s response to a growing “right-sizing” trend in Europe, with production beginning today at Ford’s new world-class manufacturing facility in Craiova, Romania.
With up to 40 percent of Europe’s large car owners looking for smaller more efficient cars and 20 percent of small cars owners seeking more space, it’s cars like new B-MAX in the small multi-activity vehicle market that are set to benefit.
This segment is forecast to grow by 17 percent by 2018. Since the first compact multi-activity vehicle appeared in 2000, it has already seen rapid growth – with five competitors in the segment by 2003 rising to ten in 2008. By the end of this year twelve models are expected to be available.
“With many consumers in Europe facing financial pressures, the status symbol of owning the most expensive, biggest or fastest is taking a back seat to being a smart, savvy or sustainable consumer,” said Henry Mason of global trend experts trendwatching.com.
“European consumers are mature, urban and sophisticated. Naturally these ‘citysumers’ want cars that fit into their flexible, compact lifestyles*.”
B-MAX combines compact dimensions for driving in congested cities with the ability to carry loads of up to 2.3m long, while the Easy Access Door System allows for a class-leading side access of 1.5m.
Compact multi-activity vehicles have often meant unwelcome compromises in style or equipment level. A report by UK-based automotive analysts Trend Tracker states that volume car buyers tend to put “economic and practical factors” as main reasons for new car choice, while “aesthetics rather than economics are key purchasing criteria,” matter more to premium car buyers.
New B-MAX enables down-sizing without down-grading. It offers best-in-class fuel efficient engines, Ford ECOnetic Technology innovations and Ford’s premium SYNC voice control system for enhanced integration of mobile phones and music players. A soft-touch instrument panel, sophisticated ambient lighting and premium fabric trim or optional full premium embossed leather upholstery are all provided.
Ford is continuing to invest more than €675 million in the new Craiova manufacturing facility where all-new B-MAX, and the award-winning 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine are now being assembled. Ford’s Craiova facility brings a new level of sophisticated, modern manufacturing to Romania.
“B-MAX is exactly the right response to what customers are looking for in this size of vehicle, and it highlights Ford’s ongoing commitment to provide our European customers with the power of choice when it comes to its family of vehicles,” said Ford’s man in charge of the B-MAX project, Klaus-Peter Tamm.
“It’s small, frugal and stylish with an equipment level to satisfy customers who are down-sizing from a larger vehicle. It’s a unique offering in the segment and a car that anyone could live with and use for all their needs on a daily basis.”
The new B-MAX goes on sale in Europe in September 2012.
Ford also confirmed today that it is starting to build a second engine at Craiova, a 1.5-litre petrol engine, which will go into volume production early next year. Further details concerning the engine will be released at a later date.
Impression from the B-Max Job #1 event in Craiova.....