Ford’s regional boss says he felt “bemused” that Toyota wouldn’t allow it to use the Edge nameplate in Australia on its forthcoming large SUV — a decision that forced the Blue Oval into inventing the ‘Endura’ badge just for our market.
The Ford Endura is on track to arrive in the fourth quarter of this year, where it’ll sit between the smaller Escape and the more off-road-focused Everest. While nominally a Territory replacement, it’ll only be available with five seats.
The updated version premiered this week at the Detroit motor show, wearing the Ford Edge badges that it uses everywhere else. However here, Toyota owns the rights to ‘Edge’, which it has used on special-edition variants of other models on/off.
We spoke with Ford’s group vice president and president of Asia Pacific, which includes Australia, Peter Fleet, at the event.
“I was slightly bemused by the fact they wouldn’t let us use that name. It’s a global name. Everyone knows,” he said, smiling wryly.
“I keep reading articles where you say ‘something the Ford Edge, brackets, which will be called Endura in Australia’… But fine.
“That’s the legal situation and they’re a competitor, and I’m sure they’re rather disappointed at the sales performance of Ranger,” he said, having a friendly dig at the HiLux, which was at-times outsold by Ford’s rival last year after decades of dominance.
Pretty solid burn, really…
Now, this is merely speculation, but Ford Australia’s long and direct antipathy towards Toyota in its marketing may well have played a role hardening the latter’s stance on this trademark issue.
There was that time Ford slapped the Toyota Camry in its 2014 Mondeo release, or the occasion it rubbished the HiLux when it launched the updated Ranger in 2015. This adversarial approach directly naming competitors raised eyebrows when it happened.
Fleet also conceded he knew Australia needed the seven-seat Endura/Edge, but reiterated the problem remained that the Canadian plant making the RHD models for us only offers a five-seater, with the three-row option limited to China production and LHD.
“I know the biggest opportunity would be with a three-row… but I don't have one in RHD. That’s all about scale off opportunity,” he said.
Fleet was also asked why our Endura would be diesel-only, citing the Detroit reveal of the sporty ST version as being one that may particularly interest us in Australia. He was upbeat about expanding the range.