If there’s one thing every good business enterprise knows, it’s how to follow the money, and right now, the money is flowing away from cars, and toward crossovers and SUVs. That’s why Ford announced the impending cancellation of all its “traditional sedan” models in the North American market, and has applied its “Sports Technology” (“ST”) badge to a utility vehicle for the first time.
In the video above, which is the first of three in a series exploring the ideation and execution of the new 2019 Ford Edge ST, several Ford Motor Company higher-ups sit down to discuss the origins of Ford’s ST badge, and what its arrival on the midsize Edge crossover means for consumers. Those higher-ups include Ford Global Head of Product Development and Purchasing Hau Thai-Tang, Ford Edge Marketing Manager Cristina Aquino, and Ford Performance Chief Functional Engineer Ed Krenz. All three played a major role in bringing Ford’s first ST-badged crossover model to market.
The ST badge can trace its routes back to the Mk I Ford Mondeo ST24 from 1996 – a premium, sporty version of the midsize Ford Mondeo powered by a 24-valve, 2.5-liter V6, which produced 170 horsepower to start, and later, 200 horsepower in the aptly-named Mondeo ST200. Several years after the badge’s debut on that model, it infiltrated its first hatchback – the Mk I Ford Focus – and resulted in the 170-horsepower Ford Focus ST170. The ST badge has been primarily associated with hot-hatch models ever since that car’s launch in 2002 – especially in the U.S., where the first-ever appearance of the badge was on the third-generation Ford Focus, from 2012 and up. It later appeared in the States on the 2014+ Ford Fiesta ST.
There’s nothing especially impractical about a hot hatch, but the 2019 Ford Edge ST takes practicality to a new level, pairing true ST performance with the space of a midsize crossover. “It is a vehicle for somebody [whp] doesn’t want to compromise the excitement of driving for the functionality of getting from Point A to Point B,” Ed Krenz says of the new model.
But with the Ford Fiesta ST and Focus ST on their way out in North America, will the new Ford Edge ST – and forthcoming Ford Explorer ST – be enough to keep Ford Performance’s “Sports Technology” badge alive in the market? Time will tell.