Aussie nameplate returns, but only for a reworked China-only crossover
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The Ford Territory has been revived, but not quite in the way many had expected or hoped. Although it won't be available in Australia, we did play a role in its development.

The new Territory looks to be a JMC Yusheng SM330 crossover with an updated front fascia, new headlights, and a Ford grille. It's not clear yet if any changes have been made to the rear of the car.

The SM330 is also believed to be closely related to the Land Wind X7, a vehicle which looked so similar to the Range Rover Evoque it provoked the British automaker to sue the Chinese automaker.

There will be three drivetrain options available when the Territory goes on sale in 2019: a petrol engine, a 48V mild hybrid with a Miller Cycle petrol engine, and a plug-in hybrid. The company has yet to provide more details regarding output and fuel economy.

Ford has completely overhauled the car's interior with a new dashboard design and a Ford-spec steering wheel. Technology highlights include adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking, a voice-controlled infotainment system and the ability to remotely unlock, locate and start the car.

While General Motors and the Volkswagen Group were both early players in the Chinese market as it opened up to foreign investment, Ford was late to the party.

Thanks to a limited line-up, an ageing portfolio and other factors Ford's sales in China have slid dramatically, and the company's local arm recorded a loss of US$483 million ($650 million) in the second quarter of this year.

The company has acknowledged the problem, and plans to launch 50 new cars in the Middle Kingdom by 2025.

Pitched in between the EcoSport and the Kuga, the new Territory will be produced at JMC's Xiao Lan plant, which Ford says meets its "meticulous global manufacturing standards".

Ford has three manufacturing partners in China, with JMC (Jiangling Motors Corporation) producing its utes and vans, Changan concentrating on passenger vehicles, and Zotye focussed on electric vehicles.

Australia

It seems unlikely the new Territory will grace an Australian showroom, with Jim Farley, Ford's head of global markets, telling Automotive News the new car is "a very unique product for China".

Although not meant for down under, Australians were involved in the new Territory's development, with the car put through its paces at the company's testing centres in Melbourne and Nanjing, China.