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Ford will challenge Mazda5 with its coming 7-seat compact

Automotive News reports on Ford's upcoming import to the U.S., the C-Max.

Automotive News
Ford C-Max
The Grand C-Max, now launching in Europe, may be called the Focus C-Max when it arrives here in January 2012. The C-Max is aimed at 30-something urbanites with families, Ford says. U.S. pricing likely will start below $25,000. Ford

NICE, France--Ford Motor Co.'s upcoming seven-seat compact car will attract 30-somethings with families, the company says.

The vehicle, which Ford is considering calling the Focus C-Max, will compete with the Mazda5. U.S. sales begin in January 2012. Ford is currently launching the Grand C-Max in Europe.

The company has not announced C-Max pricing in the United States but says it probably will start at less than $25,000. The 2010 Mazda5 starts at $19,260, including shipping.

The C-Max has rear sliding doors and folding seats to adjust to five or seven passengers, yet it's smaller than a traditional minivan

The Mazda5, a low-volume vehicle that went on sale in June 2005, also shares attributes of cars and minivans. Mazda sold 18,488 Mazda5s last year. Sales peaked in 2008 at 22,021.

To appeal to the 30-something city set, Ford will not call the C-Max a minivan in its marketing, Jim Farley, Ford's group vice president of global marketing, sales and service, said at a press event here. Ford likely won't define the vehicle by any label, he said.

The target buyer typically has one or two kids and cares about fuel economy, Farley said.

"This is one of the segments that is very vulnerable to fuel prices," he said. "We're betting on things such as Millennials seeing this as a new choice."

(Source: Automotive News)