Special Coverage

Chicago Auto Show

In an attempt to capitalize on the growing trend in vehicle personalization, Ford Motor Co. will unveil the ’09 Edge Sport cross/utility vehicle at this week’s Chicago auto show.

“This specialty design reflects customers’ interest in industry shows like the annual Hot Import Nights around the country and the Specialty Equipment Market Assn. Show in Las Vegas,” says Ford Div. General Manager John Felice.

Set to hit dealerships this fall, the factory-customized Edge Sport adds a bevy of exterior and interior enhancements. Ford says the new trim level should help bolster sales of the CUV, which notched 130,125 deliveries in 2007.

Outside, the Edge Sport boasts an 8-piece body kit that includes side skirts, lower door caps and a rear skirt all finished in a matching body color.

A unique front air dam that features integrated fog lamps and lower grille insert adds to the model’s exterior enhancements.

Buyers can choose between available 22-in. polished aluminum wheels or the standard 20-in. painted wheels emblazoned with the Ford logo on the center hubs. The Edge Sport comes shod with low-profile, 40-series Pirelli Scorpion Zero tires, which “marks the first time a 22-in. wheel-and-tire combination has been offered on a CUV,” Ford says.

Other exterior details include Sport badging, polished dual-exhaust tips that emerge from openings in the rear skirt, and “foundry gray” smoked headlamps and tail lamp lenses.

The Edge Sport on display at this week’s show features Sport Blue paint. Other colors available include Ebony, Brilliant Silver and Redfire.

Inside, the Edge Sport receives light-gray stitching on the seats, meant to lend a “premium appeal,” Ford says. Additionally, the same stitching is used on the steering wheel and shifter. An etched metal effect on the instrument panel rounds out the interior upgrades.

Ford says the Edge Sport will be the first vehicle in the CUV segment to offer a customized model.

“While custom-made to appeal to customers, the Edge Sport is smart business,” says Mark Fields, president-The Americas. “The aftermarket industry has grown to a $40 billion annual business, and crossovers are the fastest-growing vehicle segment in the U.S. We want customers who crave something special to know Ford can customize their Edge – right at the factory.”

bpope@wardsauto.com