You could call it the bombshell of the Shanghai motor show – at least from a European point of view.
The Ford Escort is being relaunched, or rather, a China-only, sub-Focus concept saloon that looks a lot like a production prospect, will bear the resonant name that sold a few million cars on our side of the world before the emphasis changed to Focus from 1997.
They say other Ford outposts fought tooth and nail to keep 'Escort' off the car to avoid confusion, just as they have been reluctant to reprise Capri in any form. But it seems the Chinese like the name, and their power in the world is such that, largely, what they want they get. It's not clear that the inevitable production model will definitely get the Escort name, but no-one we spoke to would bet against it.
The irony is that China's Escort is certain to be immeasurably better than Europe's could ever hope to have been. Alan Mulally's One Ford plans ensures two important things: that Ford running gear is top class, and that it gets everywhere.
The last Euro-Escort, by contrast, was a poor car that Ford engineers battled to improve to respectable standards – following an outspoken comparison in Autocar in 1990, I think, headlined 'Escort Meets Its Rivals And Loses'. The Richard Parry-Jones revolution, which brought top class road ability to Fords, started soon after.