February 16, 2016
Rick Popely

Ford Motor Co. will add four new SUVs to its global lineup by 2020 to serve what it sees as a dramatic and ongoing shift away from passenger cars.

Mark LaNeve, Ford's vice president of sales and marketing, announced the plans Thursday at the Chicago Auto Show. LaNeve said SUV sales have nearly doubled in the U.S. since 2010, and the growth is driven by consumer preference, not by low gas prices.

"In terms of a longer-term trend of people moving from passenger cars into SUVs, we think that will continue beyond fuel prices. It's been going on for six years," LaNeve told reporters after a speech to the Midwest Automotive Media Association.

In 2010, passenger cars were 52 percent of the U.S. market, but last year they were 41 percent. Since 2010, SUV sales have grown from roughly 3.5 million to 6.3 million and account for more than one-third of new vehicles. Ford projects SUVs to increase to 40 percent of sales by 2020.

Ford's current SUV lineup consists of the Ford Escape compact crossover, Ford Edge midsize crossover, Ford Flex crossover for California (where it is mostly sold), Ford Explorer midsize SUV and Ford Expedition full-size SUV. There is also the Ford Transit Connect passenger and work van.

Chicago Tribune