Ford's (NYSE:F) Escape has been one of the company's best success stories over the past couple of years. It has a chance to do something that only the F-Series has accomplished over the past decade -- break 300,000 in vehicle sales for an entire year. That would be a huge accomplishment, since the F-Series has been America's best-selling vehicle for 31 years, and the best-selling truck for 36.
But what makes the new Escape so popular? Let's look at what consumers love about the new ride, what critics are saying, and why Ford investors should be excited.
So many perks!
Consumers have gravitated toward the Escape SUV because of its numerous technological and fuel-efficient options. Here's a quick run-down of what you can expect when buying a new, fully loaded Escape. Let's start with the fresh outside appearance and design.
Gone are the days of the boxy style, replaced with a curvy, sleek, contemporary design. The new front grille and lower bumper catch the eye, and the 19-inch wheels give a more modern look. Its high-intensity headlights and fog lamps only complete the more aggressive look. Now that the looks draw you in, how does the Escape seal the deal?
Once you find yourself in the stylish SUV, there are a few things that will grab your attention. It has a long list of convenient, comfortable, and innovative features. The rear seats are designed to fold easy, and with the press of a button and the lift of a handle, you can transform the Escape into a cargo-carrying beast. To assist, as you may have seen in the commercials, you can simply place your foot under a sensor underneath the rear of the vehicle, and the hands-free lift opens the rear hatch -- pretty slick, and helpful when carrying heavy items.
When it comes to technology, the popular ride also features Sync with MyFordTouch, and Bluetooth, giving consumers hands-free control of the vehicle interior with voice commands.
No gas-guzzler here
When it comes down to it these days, fuel efficiency is one of the most important factors when consumers decide which vehicle to purchase. The Escape's 2-liter EcoBoost option delivers 24 miles per gallon -- a 5 mpg improvement over its predecessor.
Along with fuel efficiency, tech innovations are also a key driver for vehicle purchases. The Escape is a winner here as well, offering technology that can slow the vehicle automatically when cornering too fast. It also features an active park assist, as well as blind-spot detection and alerts.
Check out what the critics have to say:
- Consumer Guide: "The redesigned 2013 Ford Escape is dramatically different than the vehicle it replaces. This compact sport utility is smooth, refined, and quite engaging to drive."
- Popular Mechanics: "The new Escape finally delivers a modern small crossover to the Ford family. It's certainly one of the sharpest-looking vehicles in this price class, and when equipped with one of the EcoBoost engines, the Escape is a fun and practical ute."
Bottom line: It delivers
There's plenty for consumers to be happy about, and they've responded in droves, increasing Escape sales 52% over last April's figures. That's where investors should be excited about profit potential. The Escape, when fully loaded, becomes pricier than its predecessor and is more profitable than other standard vehicles. It's even better news that the price increase hasn't turned off consumers from making the purchase.
In fact, SUVs are right next to the F-Series -- which brings in majority of Ford's profits -- in profitability. The redesigned SUV delivers on all the important factors for consumers, and in so doing, it delivers top- and bottom-line profits for Ford and its investors. This story is only beginning.
Fool contributor Daniel Miller owns shares of Ford. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Ford. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.