Ford is to launch a seven-seat version of the new C-Max, unveiled in Frankfurt today, in North America in late 2011. That version will also have sliding rear doors.
The automaker’s new C-platform architecture will underpin over 2m vehicles a year worldwide.
The North American C-Max will be one of “up to 10” models on the platform developed under CEO Alan Mulally’s ‘One Ford’ strategy.
It will arrive about a year after next-generation Focus sedan and five-door hatchback models are launched late in 2010 in the United States.
Ford analysts said small cars in the B- and C-segments accounted for less than 15% of the US market in 2004 but their share was up to almost 22% year to date at the end of August with further gains expected.
Ford had been widely expected to launch the original European C-Max in 2003 as a seven-seater to rival General Motors Europe’s Opel/Vauxhall Zafira which had an ingenious system that folded all five rear seats flat into the floor. In the end, the C-Max was launched with five seats though the larger S-Max was later to offer seven with, in some markets, the alternative of five.
For the new US-bound C-Max, Ford has developed a new folding mechanism for the three second-row seats which allows the centre seat to fold under one of the two outboard seats, creating a walk-through space between them.
Owners will have the option of using this 2+2+2 layout or switching to the full seven seats when required.
All second- and third-row seats can also be folded flat into the load floor and all folding mechanisms can be operated with one hand, the automaker said.