Ford’s New “Family Car” Cuts the Minivan Down to Size

Sep 24, 2009
After liquidating its line of minivans a few years ago, Ford has decided to introduce a vehicle that caters to the demand for a small car which can also transport a family by introducing a new “family car” on the US in 2012.

The Grand C-Max will be available in America in two years, although the name of the car will most likely change before the final product hits your local Ford dealer.  The Grand C-Max has three rows of seating and sliding minivan-style doors, but Ford does not want consumers to think of the sporty new vehicle as a “minivan.”

“Minivans have a stigma,” says Derrick Kuzak, group vice president of Ford’s global product development team. He prefers to call the Grand C-Max a “people mover” with style. “We tried to provide that functionality but with an inspirational design.”

The Grand C-Max will be the largest in Ford’s new line of C-Max cars.  The platform will be used to develop up to 10 new Ford vehicles, and should account for 2 million in global sales volume for Ford each year. The growing small car market in the US is making some headway, but Ford thinks that a more minivan-like car will fill a niche that is not currently being satisfied.  It is longer to accommodate more seats and has more trunk space for family items like a stroller, all while avoiding the “refrigerator on wheels” look that Kuzak says plagues most minivans.

The price of the Grand C-Max may prove to be its weakest attribute. The C-Max goes for about $23,000 in Europe, which might be a bit too expensive for its size in the U.S. market, says Jim Hall, an analyst at 2953 Analytics.  “If you shop around, you can get a full-size minivan for under $20,000,” he says. “So they’re going to have to duke it out if they want to do high volume.”

Photo by Ford