The spy shooters at Brenda Priddy & Co. have reported sightings of several of these early "mule" vehicles around Metro Detroit. At first, they assumed the vehicle pictured was just the updated Mondeo with camouflage left on. While it's not unusual to see foreign-market cars in Detroit, the shooters did find it odd to see at least a dozen of these test cars undergoing lots of testing from the engineers in Detroit. When Priddy's team asked their Ford contacts what the car was, they received an answer along the lines of "you know the next Fusion, MKX and Mondeo are moving to one global chassis, right?"
Compared to the mules the team saw last time, this sighting has all the heavy camouflage removed from the front end. While Priddy says this obviously does not represent the final design, she thinks this mish-mash of tacked-on parts are there to make room for components related to turbo-charging.
Priddy reports that the new Fusion and Lincoln MKZ will be the first vehicles to ride on this new platform, with production starting in June 2012. Priddy reports that powertrains will consist of a 1.6L 4-cylinder and a 2.0L 4-cylinder, both featuring ecoboost turbo-charging.
Styling-wise, we were told the next Fusion and Mondeo would share large parts of the design, much like the U.S and European versions of the 2012 Focus. That means we can expect more of Ford's "Kinetic" design language for the 2013 Fusion. While the early development vehicle in our photos does not represent the final design, the new front clip appears to be tacked on for some initial powertrain and cooling tests.
Referred to as "CD4," this new, global platform will see heavy use, much like Toyota's "MC" platform. The Fusion, MKZ and Mondeo will be the first to get this new chassis. In the fall of 2013, the Edge and MKX will move to CD4. Then, in the fall of 2014, the Taurus and MKS will also make the jump. Several other Ford Europe products will also utilize CD4.
While Ford Europe was set to spearhead this program, that changed roughly a year ago. Now Ford North America has the engineering lead and the heavy testing activity we've seen certainly backs that up!
Photo Credit: Chris Doane/Brenda Priddy & Company