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Could it happen? Ford's CEO wishes the Puma ST was sold in the U.S.

Ford didn't initially design the Puma to make its way to the U.S.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Jim Farley is Ford Motor Company's CEO. He's only had the job for a few months so it's understandable if he doesn't quite understand the power he has. So, when Farley tweeted on February 15 that he wished that the new Ford Puma ST was available in North America, he received a lot of replies that read a lot like, "I think I know a guy..."

Let's take a closer look at the Puma, try to figure out what it would replace in the Ford lineup, and see whether or not it could feasibly make its way to the U.S.

2022 Ford Puma STThe Ford Puma ST is the most high-performance Puma you can buy.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

2022 Ford Puma ST

What is the Ford Puma?

The Ford Puma is a compact crossover that was introduced in Europe for the 2020 model year. Its name comes from the Puma compact coupé, which was produced for Europe from 1997 to 2002.

The Puma is sold in four trim levels in Europe: Titanium, ST Line,, Vignale, and ST. The base Titanium model is pretty well equipped, but the Puma ST offers the best performance. The Puma ST is truly designed to be a hot hatch.

How big is the Ford Puma?

It's based on the same platform that the Ford Fiesta is built on meaning that they're both small by European standards and downright tiny by U.S. standards. The Fiesta fits two adults comfortably in the first row but the rear seat is best left to small children. The Puma is slightly bigger meaning that average-sized adults can sit there, albeit with the feeling of being a bit stuffed into a small space.

2022 Ford Puma ST

The Ford Puma is smaller than the Ford EcoSport, Kuga, Escape, Explorer, and Expedition.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

How does the Ford Puma compare to the Ford EcoSport?

The difference between the Ford Puma and Ford EcoSport is the same as the difference between the BMW X2 and BMW X3. The Puma and X2 are solidly in the crossover category while the Ford EcoSport and BMW X3 ride higher like more traditional SUVs.

The EcoSport has a slightly longer wheelbase than the Puma but the Puma is nearly six inches longer. EcoSport wins on width, being six inches wider than the Puma.

Front row Puma occupants have about the same amount of head- and shoulder room as they would in the EcoSport, but they are able to take advantage of nearly two more inches of legroom.

The Puma has substantially less cargo room than the EcoSport, both behind the second-row and with the rear seats stowed.

2022 Ford Puma ST

The interior of the Ford Puma ST features design choices to make it look street racing-ready.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Will Ford get rid of the EcoSport in the U.S. and replace it with the Puma?

Despite being widely panned by critics, the Ford EcoSport sells reasonably well in the U.S. The automaker sold 60,545 of them in 2020. That's about how many Nissan Kicks that were sold and 18,000 more than the total of Toyota CH-Rs that were purchased during the same time period.

Still, the EcoSport has a way to go to catch up to its chief rivals like the Hyundai Kona, Honda HR-V, Jeep Renegade, and Kia Soul.

As good as those sell, some even smaller SUVs are selling better, like the Chevrolet Trax. However, those models are priced low, under $20,000 to start in many cases. In the U.K., the Puma is priced to start at around $30,000 USD. That price tag wouldn't fly in the States. Even with a $25,000 starting price, the Puma would start to have fierce competition from the larger and much more popular compact SUV segment.

2022 Ford Puma ST

The Ford Puma ST is a true hot hatch.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Then there's the dimensions. Americans are, generally, larger than Europeans. A car that is six inches narrower than the Ford EcoSport is quite compact by modern U.S. standards.

While there is room in the lineup, for now at least, the answer seems to be no, the EcoSport will likely not be replaced by the Puma, nor will the Puma be added to the offerings at U.S. dealerships.

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Lincoln will not make a performance variant to compete with Cadillac.

Lincoln

TheLincoln Navigator and Cadillac Escalade have been duking it out at the top of luxury SUV rankings for decades, but there’s one area of the Caddy’s development that Lincoln won’t touch. In a recent interview, a company executive told Ford Authority that it has no plans to create a performance variant of the Navigator to compete with the upcoming Escalade V from Cadillac.

2022 Lincoln NavigatorThe new Navigator features several upscale touches and excellent tech. Lincoln

That means the Navigator will stick with the powertrain it’s carried for years, which is a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine that makes 440 horsepower and 510 pound-feet of torque. It’s paired with a smooth ten-speed automatic and either rear- or four-wheel drive. While there’s more than enough power to get the hulking Lincoln moving, it’s not a powertrain that inspires excitement or engagement, and though beefy, it’s tuned much more for comfort and quietness than drama.

Though more than adequate, those specs are a far cry from the numbers we expect from the Escalade V. The full-size bruiser from Cadillac is expected to get a supercharged 6.2-liter V8, similar to the unit seen in the CT5-V Blackwing and Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. We don’t know power numbers yet, but the engine should deliver horsepower and torque numbers in the high 600s.

Cadillac Escalade VThe Escalade V will be massively powerful. Cadillac

That Lincoln is taking a different approach isn’t surprising. The automaker has already announced its intention to go all-electric, so pouring more time and resources into creating a performance gas-powered SUV isn’t in line with its goals. Company executives have also expressed a desire to avoid imitating rivals, so the decision to leave a performance Navigator behind is not surprising.

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First-year Ford F-150 Lightning production numbers doubled
Ford

Ford has begun serial production of the new F-150 Lightning electric pickup truck, marking what could be one of the most important days in recent automotive history. The first trucks rolled off the assembly line at Ford's Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Michigan today, so America's best-selling truck has finally gone electric. Ford wants to sell two million EVs per year by 2026 and have half of its global sales volume to be electric by 2030.

Ford F-150 LightningPast meets future: Ford's new electric pickup will be the F-150 Lightningautomotivemap.com

Ford has seen extreme demand for the trucks, with 200,000 reservations since the books opened. To deliver, the automaker plans to increase production to an annual rate of 150,000 units by next year, which involved huge investments in the Rouge Center and created hundreds of jobs. Ford's total investment for the F-150 Lightning crests $1 billion across Michigan alone, and has created 1,700 jobs across various facilities in the state.

Ford F-150 LightningThe first production trucks left the factory today.
Ford Motor Company

Though the Lightning starts around $40,000, the most mainstream models will cost much more than that. The F-150 Lightning Pro, while affordable, is a stripped-down truck intended for commercial buyers. It's still a forward-looking electric truck with amazing capabilities, but it lacks much of the creature comforts and features that everyday drivers expect. Higher trims get the latest driver assistance features, including BlueCruise, which is Ford's semi-autonomous hands-free driving assistant. A 12-inch touchscreen is standard, along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, navigation, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and more.

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