The all-new Ford Escort has been spotted testing in Victoria where local engineers are readying it for its launch into China later this year.
The compact Escort sedan will be revealed in production form at the Beijing auto show in three weeks’ time – its unveiling due to take place exactly 12 months after the original concept debuted at last year’s Shanghai show.
Ford Australia won’t comment officially on its involvement with the project, though, as CarAdvice revealed exclusively in January, the local division has spearheaded the design and engineering of the new model, which is set to be sold in China and potentially other developing markets.
Ford Australia engineers have been heavily involved in tuning the drivetrains, suspension and steering of the new model, with prototypes spotted in and around Melbourne, Geelong, and the company’s You Yangs proving ground.
A CarAdvice reader snapped a left-hand-drive test car in Victoria, while CarAdvice’s spy photographers also captured an Escort prototype on an ice track in northern Sweden.
Both sets of spy images suggest the Ford Escort production car will closely mirror the design of the concept, incorporating the brand’s now-signature trapezoidal chrome grille, a pair of swept headlights, clean body panels and sleek wraparound tail-lights.
It’s understood to be based on the Focus Classic, a model already sold in China that’s based on the previous-generation Focus.
The Escort is the latest in a growing list of affordable models developed by Ford Australia for emerging markets, following the 2005 Fiesta and 2010 Figo city cars.
The Ford Escort will be built by the Changan-Ford joint venture and will go on sale in China in the second half of this year.