just-auto.com -- The 1968 Escort marked an important development for Ford in Europe. It was the first car developed jointly by the British and German arms of the company and it was a huge success, a mould breaker combining good looks with very competitive pricing. But the over three decades long Escort story was not wholly unblemished. The European launch of the Mark IV Escort in 1990 was one of the most embarrassing and flawed product launches in Ford's history. But that wake-up call was much needed and taught Ford some important lessons. The critics have lauded the replacement vehicle -- the Ford Focus.

But the Ford has dropped plans for a Focus-based Renault Scenic competitor, just as the compact minivan market in Europe is soaring and GM is enjoying fast sales of the 7-seater Astra-based Zafira.

just-auto.com Managing Editor David Leggett commented: "The Escort was a great car in its various incarnations -- the Mark IV launch debacle aside -- but not being present in the Renault Scenic class until at least 2003 will pose a problem. As Zafira sales climb, GM product planners must be laughing." The full article is available by clicking here and covers complete history of the Escort up until the Focus, and looks at how dropping a Focus-based MAV could prove costly to Ford in Europe.

just-auto.com is the premier online portal for automotive industry professionals worldwide. Targeted specifically at industry and business professionals the site provides a single point of reference for independent automotive industry information.