After a long absence, Ford Motor (F) will reenter the U.S. minivan market when it debuts the new Ford C-Max at next month's Detroit auto show. The new model will mark Ford's first effort in the segment since discontinuing the larger Ford Freestar minivan in 2006.

Though new to North America, the C-Max is familiar to European drivers looking for a compact people mover. The C-Max is capable of carrying seven passengers, and its smaller size and lighter weight will allow it to achieve better fuel economy than that of its competitors, according to a statement from Ford.

Those attributes could make the C-Max an ideal choice for young, growing families, which is Ford's target market for the new product. Though minivans as a group have grown larger and heavier since their introduction in the early '80s, the C-Max returns the concept back to more compact dimensions, Ford said.

For example, the C-Max is about two feet shorter than popular competitors such as Honda Motor's (HMC) Odyssey and Chrysler Group's Dodge Grand Caravan.

Between a Focus and an Edge

The C-Max will go on sale in North America "by 2012." The new model is based on Ford's Focus compact car, a new version of which begins production early next month at Ford's Michigan Assembly plant in suburban Detroit. Ford plans to build 10 models based on the basic structure of the Focus.

The C-Max will be priced between the Focus sedan, which starts at $16,640, and the Edge crossover, which starts at $27,220, Bloomberg News reported.

Ford may sell as many as 50,000 C-Max models annually in the U.S., according to auto analyst Jeff Schuster of J.D. Power & Associates. That would be more than twice the sales of Mazda Motor's similar Mazda5 model, which sold some 18,000 copies last year, making it the best-selling compact minivan in the U.S., Bloomberg noted.

The C-Max will be offered with a bevy of technology both as standard equipment and options. Those include a novel automated rear tailgate that is activated when the driver performs a kicking motion under the rear bumper. The action triggers two sensors embedded in the bumper, lifting the gate. The technology requires a key fob to be in proximity to engage the sensors.

Ford's previous minivan offering, the Freestar, debuted in 2004 and was discontinued two years later. The model never proved to be as popular as its competitors.

Before the Freestar, Ford sold the Windstar, which has been the subject of an extensive recall to repair or replace axles prone to rust and cracks in regions where road salt is routinely used to treat icy pavement.


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lexlus42

Well all I can say is that Toyota has way to many recalls to get close to one. Toyota's will change but not for a few years, when all the recalls are sorted out.
Chevy cant really make their cars safe.
Honda makes very ugly cars that remind me of roaches.
Chrysler cant make it out of the below average reliability range.
So I don't see why you wouldn't give Ford a look.
Nice cars, top of the line cars with highest quality, reliability, fuel efficient and style. I can't see past that; so why not give Ford a try?

Or are you that narrow minded?

December 22 2010 at 7:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
vlady1000

Good to see that. Hope it does better than the Windstar (I think it should). The small enigines Ford is developing are now pretty strong. Engine technology is amasing now. It is getting to the point that I will not even try a newer mini van at a green light in my Vette (1993, with only 300hp) anymore:) I remember when 0-60 in 10 seconds was pretty good for a typical grocery getter, today anything over 8 seconds is a considered turtle by many. Never a serious problem with all the Fords I have had over the 35 years. Ford is thinking out of the box more and more, good to see.

December 21 2010 at 12:00 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
jtmpmm

I have a 2001 Windatar and a 1998 F-150, both running like new. I have owned several Fords and never had a transmission problem. My cousin, a former Toyota owner, cannot say the same.

December 20 2010 at 8:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to jtmpmm's comment
lexlus42

I had a 05 Corolla with a bad transition. and it had a rod ticking all the time.
To find out four years later that my year Corolla had been recalled over multiple things.
Makes you feel stupid when everyone says Get the Toyota it'll last longer. HA ROFL. now I have a Ford Taurus. Fast cars man. FORD = First On Race Day.

December 22 2010 at 7:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
trymy5

Who wants a minivan that's going to carry lots of people powered by a focus engine? Ever drive a focus? My wife has one and it's a POS, My 07 F150 is a Unreliable piece too. Now before you say I'm a Antiamerican I have owned all American made products for the past 30 years, My sister has 2 Hondas Minor issues at best 150,000 miles on both Both of my Fords have had 2 times the problems and neither one has 100,000 yet, I am a mechanic by trade and If it were not for American cars I'd be out of work. I work at an independent shop so I see all models.

December 20 2010 at 5:58 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
thomasva6

great! i can't wait to buy a ford and then have the transmission go bad after a year!

December 20 2010 at 3:41 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to thomasva6's comment
richperry05

fool

December 20 2010 at 3:43 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
jcarr12217

FORD IS AMERICA.....THINK WHAT YOUR DOING TO THIS COUNTRY WHEN YOU CHOOSE ANOTHER COUNTRIES PRODUCTS

December 20 2010 at 12:19 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to jcarr12217's comment
DON

Do you know many Fords are made in Mexico

December 20 2010 at 12:25 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
DON

Too small and Windstars repretation will make it a looser.

December 20 2010 at 12:18 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
5 replies to DON's comment
LongBeard40

Ford - Forward only Rejecting democrats ! Go Ford !!!!!

December 20 2010 at 11:55 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
wahoofishing2

Go FORD, the last real American car company.

December 20 2010 at 10:48 AM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply