Pictured to the left is a 2001 Ford Escape that rolled over killing the Texas couple. During the rollover, severe roof crush of the roof pillars and roof supports occured. The roof and weight of the vehicle in the rollover crushed the occupants. Both occupants were properly seated and had their seatbelts on.
FORD ESCAPE ROLLOVERS – A PROBLEM FOR FORD & CONSUMERS
In the early 1970’s Ford started the development of the Ford Bronco II, a new breed of sport utility vehicles. In the early 1980’s the rollover problems, deaths and lawsuits immediately arose, but Ford continued marketing the Bronco II until the advent of the Ford Explorer, another well know leader in the rollover world. In 2000 Ford marketed a new small sports utility vehicle know as the Ford Escape.The small SUV segment is one of the fastest growing in the auto industry.The Ford Escape’s new mini platform was developed in partnership with Mazda. The 2001 Escape has unibody construction, like a car, rather than the truck-based, body-on-frame design. The Ford Escape made its public debut at the North American International Autoshow in January 2000 and was an all-new model for Ford in 2001. The small 4-door Escape fills out Ford’s SUV lineup that includes Explorer, Expedition and Excursion. The Escape also features 4-wheel independent suspension. Unlike the rest of Ford’s SUVs, Escape has a front-wheel-drive powertrain.
MARKETING OF THE FORD ESCAPE
The new Ford Escape, smaller than the best-selling Ford Explorer, is designed to appeal to younger buyers as well as the young at heart – drivers who want fun, agile, sporty, durable yet affordable transportation for their active lifestyles …”We believe Escape will appeal to a wide variety of consumers, including those who have not owned an SUV before, but whose life’s activities now require the space and versatility that an SUV provides. Those people might not consider a larger SUV, but Escape will provide them with the perfect solution,” … “whether they are young singles, newlyweds, small families or empty nesters, the Escape will be an affordable and fun option that will allow them to do all of the things that they enjoy such as skiing, camping and biking.”
“Ford pioneered the modern SUV market with the Explorer in 1991. Since then, SUV sales in the U.S. have climbed an average of 17 percent per year,” … “the 2001 Escape provides a logical extension of the Ford SUV family and will help us maintain our proven leadership by providing customers with a bold new choice in the small SUV market.”Jim O’Connor, Ford Division president and vice president of Ford Motor Company
While news of a rollover epidemic of the Ford Escape has not yet surfaced and hopefully will not, the design of this vehicle with it’s short wheelbase and light vehicle weight coupled with the limited driving abilities and experiences of the younger targeted consumers, all add up to a new vehicle in which some consumers may not be able to live up to the name Ford gave it…”ESCAPE”