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Forward-looking Ford scratches Puma

Riley Riley

News that Ford has decided to ditch its Puma SUV, or at least the petrol version — is hardly surprising.

We can’t remember seeing a single, solitary advertisement for this car, let alone driving one of the tiddlers, which suggests Ford Australia and its dealers had little appetite for the econobox.

Launched here in 2020, Puma was a replacement for the small EcoSport SUV (which we did drive).

“The fun-to-drive Puma is a new-generation compact SUV created for Australians looking for a practical, smartly-packaged, technologically advanced urban vehicle,” Ford announced.

With a 1.0-litre three cylinder turbocharged engine, it’s currently Ford’s cheapest vehicle — priced from $35,280 driveaway.

The petrol-powered will be replaced by the fully electric Puma Gen-E due later this year or early 2025.

At this point it is worth remembering that the Fiesta and Focus hatches went bye-byes at the end of 2022, leaving no sedans nor hatches in the local lineup.

It smacks of Holden’s decision to go SUV-only, with the launch of its “This is how we SUV” campaign back in 2019.

We all know how that ended.

But, finishing with the third highest sales for 2023, behind Toyota and Mazda, Ford is in no danger of pulling out of the Australian market — not any time soon.

The refocus shows what a volatile and rapidly changing place the Australian new car market is, as cheaper Chinese alternatives continue to pour in.

There’s no time nostalgia.

Ford’s best selling vehicle is by far and away the Ranger utility of which it sold more than 63,000 units in 2023.

Second was the Ranger-based Everest SUV with 15,000 units and third, the Transit Custom van (2800).

It was followed by the mid-sized Escape SUV (2336) and close on its heels the small Puma SUV (2027).

Next cab off the rank is Mustang 1475 sales (plus 50 or so electric Mustang Mach-E SUVs) — but they’re not about to ditch them.

Ford Puma Gen E
The Puma Gen-E is coming here.


Ford Australia says it has decided to refocus and concentrate on EVs, commercial and performance vehicles.

The departure of Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) variants of the Puma small SUV by mid-2024 will make way for growth opportunities in our broadest-ever Transit and Mustang range, and the addition of the Tourneo people mover, and fully electric Puma Gen-E, it says.

Ford’s Andrew Birkic said the focus was on vehicles and in segments where it can really meet the unique needs of Australian customers.

“We see particular opportunities in commercial vehicles – from Transit to E-Transit, Transit Custom to E-Transit Custom, alongside Ranger,” he said.

“We will also continue to focus on our performance line-up – from Mustang and Mustang Dark Horse, to Mustang Mach-E and Ranger Raptor – alongside a renewed emphasis on vehicles that help customers do the things they love, like towing a boat or caravan in an F-150, off-roading with friends in an Everest, or road-tripping with a large family in a Tourneo.

“We have not taken this decision lightly and thank the many loyal customers who have chosen Puma over the years.”

Ford has stocks of Puma to fill all current customer orders.

Last arrivals of Puma ICE variants will be in May ahead of the introduction of Puma Gen-E, with timing to be confirmed closer to local arrivals.

2020 Ford Puma 3
The current Ford Puma SUV.


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