The current Ford C-MAX was first launched in Europe back in 2003 and was treated with a mild facelift last year as part of its mid-cycle upgrade. A brand new version, the first model based on Ford’s next-generation ‘global’ Focus platform, has now been unveiled at the 2009 Frankfurt Auto Show, and we have news that the minivan/MPV will be headed to the U.S. by late 2011.
It will still be called the C-MAX in the U.S., shirking Ford's fondness for F-based names in North America. It will also likely be built alongside the next-gen Focus in Ford's Wayne, Michigan plant for North American consumption, though that's not yet confirmed. Euro models will be built in Valencia, Spain. And according to our source in Frankfurt, the C-MAX will be on U.S. roads by late 2011.
The new car will be available as a five (standard C-MAX) or seven-seater (Grand C-MAX) and will first go on sale in Europe in the second half of 2010. So far only the seven-seat Grand C-MAX is confirmed for the U.S., though Ford has dropped the "Grand" part of the name for North America.
The reason it's likely to be built in Wayne is that the car shares the same C-segment platform that underpins the next-gen 2011 Ford Focus, which will once again be a global platform.
Sticking seven seats into the smallish platform means innovative methods must be employed, and Ford doesn't disappoint. The center seat in the second row folds under one of the side seats, making ingress and egress to and from the third row easier, and opening up more cargo configurations as well. Both second and third-row seats also individually fold flat to the cargo floor, leaving lots of space for boxes and other large objects while also leaving seating where necessary.
In addition to the seven-seat layout, the 2011 C-MAX affords a number of advantages not typically found in compact vehicles in the U.S., including a raised driving position for better sight lines and command of the road, a high-mounted shifter, and a a raised center console. Multiple storage areas are located throughout the cabin, including door pockets, a large glove box, extra storage in the center console and the all-American must-have: cup holders.
Expect more details, including pricing, to come as the 2011 launch date draws nearer.