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  • Mazda's woes reflected in boxy designs (June 1999)
  • Which Ford where?
    June 1, 1999

    For readers completely baffled by what Ford compact was sold where in our previous article, here's CAP's attempt to sort it all out

    1970s1978 Ford Escort RS2000Rear-wheel-drive Escort Mk I and II (right) sold outside all North American markets, based on Anglo-German design dating back to 1968; with the exception of Brazil, where the Renault-derived Corcel and Corcel II are the small-car mainstays
    1980Launch of Ford Laser, a facelifted and rebadged front-wheel-drive Mazda Familia/323/GLC with a reverse-slant Mk V Taunus-/Cortina-like nose. The car shared development with the European and American Escort/Lynx (Erika). Australian Laser S has colour-keyed wheel covers and stripes. Three-, four- and five-door models in both ranges
    1981Launch of Meteor in Australian market, essentially the four-door Laser with a slightly different grille
    1982Facelift for Laser to a sloped grille; similar enhancements to Familia/323 with smaller headlights and tidied appearance
    19851985 Ford Laser 1.3GLAll-new models, but along the same lines. Different sheetmetal for three- and five-door (right) Laser but four-door, wagon and cabriolet are rebadged Mazda Familia/323s. Meteor nameplate dropped. Ford facelifts Escort in Europe
    1988Launch of Mercury Tracer for American market, built in Mexico using Laser design. Facelift for Familia/323 and Laser. Laser TX3i sports model has a unique nose, with four round headlamps
    1989Much-delayed Ford/Mercury Capri (SA30), built in Australia, released, based around 323 components. Final model year for Ford Corcel/Del Ray in Brazil, to be replaced by Escort
    19901990 Ford Laser TX3i TurboNew Familia/323, each variant (three-, four-, and five-door) with different sheetmetal. American-designed Escort/Tracer on new 323 platform, sold in Asia-Pacific markets by Ford as the Laser. Unlike Mazda, common sheetmetal where possible amongst Ford models; in three- (above right), four- and five-door versions. Wagon continues from 1985 platform, except in North America where a new model débuts along with others, making a full range. Ford of Europe goes with its own separate Escort, heavily criticized by the press for lacklustre dynamics. South Africa continues with 1985-based model, badged as Laser and Tracer, but latter model would later adopt 323 bodyshell
    1992First series of revisions, plus facelift to Ford Escort in Europe to meet press attacks, taking the car to Mk VI; revisions also to 1990-launched Mazda 323 and facelift for Laser
    19951998 Ford LynxFamilia/323 spawns more versions, including the Lantis, a sporty four-door hardtop and five-door coupé, both exported, plus 323 three-door coupé on short-wheelbase platform and four-door (also called Protégé). Platform grows: only 10 mm short of Toyota Camry's wheelbase. Laser three-door is on shorter wheelbase with grille reminiscent of Ford's Taurus (rounded headlamps); four-door is 323 with new front and rear. Five-door is unique; designed by Australian designers from B pillar back (above right), still sold in parts of Asia at time of writing as the Lynx. Wagon continues for non-North American markets from 1985, but deleted for 1996. European Escort facelifted and revised for 1995
    19971997 Ford LaserNew Familia/323 three-door (323P) with conventional hatchback to replace coupé; Ford deletes Laser coupé. Remaining Lasers facelifted (right). North American Escort/Tracer launched; different from Laser and continues on earlier platform. Wagon has a new grille but is essentially the same as before
    19981999 Ford LaserNew Familia/323, with pruning of models. Now four- and five-door models while three-door continues from '96. Laser four- and five-door designed for Asia-Pacific with different front and rear sections, but centre is identical (as in 1980) (above right). No wagon (as in 1980). Ford of Europe launches Focus as three-, four- and five-door sedans and a five-door wagon - an entirely different model, despite speculation earlier in the decade that it would spawn a Mazda. Launch of the Escort ZX2, a two-door coupé for North America, on earlier 323 platform
    19991999 Ford FocusFord Focus (right), already European Car of the Year, launches for 2000 model year in North America to replace Escort, but no five-door hatchback. The 1985 Mazda 323 lives on: Ford's South African lineup includes a rebadged version called the Tonic (an entry-level model), and a pickup in the VW Caddy mould called the Bantam

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