FORD is set to go into battle with Toyota over the rights to the Edge nameplate that graces the global SUV that has finally been confirmed for Australia.
Ford said Edge will form an important pillar in a broader SUV strategy planned to plug the hole left by Territory, which ends production in October (stocks will last until mid-2017).
However, there’s one giant hurdle for Edge – Ford doesn’t own the rights to the name in Australia. That’s owned by Toyota, which has used the name on various limited-edition SUVs and hatches sold locally.
Ford Australia president Graeme Whickman said the company is still working on the naming issue.
“We’re weighing up the pros and cons. It’s at an early stage ... there’s no rush,” he said.
As Wheels went to press Toyota said it hadn’t received any official request from Ford regarding use of the Edge name in Australia. Corporate affairs manager Beck Angel hinted there were no plans to relinquish it.
“We own the trademark registrations and exclusive rights to use Edge in relation to motor vehicles, parts and accessories in Australia,” Angel told Wheels.
The move could force Ford to find an alternative, the most obvious being Territory.
The quandary is whether buyers see that as an Australian name that should be retired with the end of local manufacturing – in line with the decision to sideline the Falcon name – or whether the Territory name could continue on as an imported vehicle.
Those discussions will no doubt play out between now and 2018, when the car arrives.
Wheels understands the Edge will come in five-seat guise only, leaving Ford without a direct replacement for the carbased Territory.
Ford also produces a unique three-row Edge body for China, which sits on the same 2850mm wheelbase as the five-seat US model, but with an extra 100mm added to the tail to accommodate the third row.
It’s understood there are no plans to produce the sevenseater in the Canadian factory that will supply Australia.
Indeed, Ford says the Edge won’t be a straight replacement for the local Territory.
Whereas Territory utilises the rear-drive architecture of the Falcon – which Ford made a big deal of in marketing the sole locally built SUV – Edge rides on the underpinnings of the front-drive Mondeo.
Edge is 110mm shorter but 30mm wider than Territory, with a wheelbase 7mm longer.
Combined with a transverse engine layout, it promises good interior space.
Overseas, Edge is available with a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo, 3.5-litre V6 and 2.7-litre twin-turbo V6, as well as a 2.0- litre turbo-diesel. The diesel is the most likely, with Ford Australia also considering at least one of the petrol engines.
Ford will expand its Everest line-up in 2017, adding a five-seat Ambiente in both rear-wheel-drive and AWD guises. They will join the rear-drive sevenseat Everest Trend due in November.
However, being based on the Ranger ute, the Everest is not the city-slicker some Territory owners will be hoping for. Its strengths are towing and off-road, the latter barely considered when developing the Territory.