China is now the world’s largest auto market, and automakers are working hard to cater to the demands of buyers who don’t always want the same things as Americans and Europeans.
While it would be hard to find a Ford car driven by a chauffeur in the United States, it’s more common to find the owner sitting in the back in China.
That means the driver’s seat is no longer the most important spot, and the rear needed some spiffing up.
To make the back more comfortable for its Chinese customers, Ford made a few changes to its Kuga — the local name for the popular Escape compact crossover.
In an Automotive News video report, Ford exec Trevor Worthington explains the automaker did not want to make a whole new car for the Chinese market.
To avoid the extra cost of development and production, Ford made two simple changes to add extra room and luxury in the spot where most American owners put their kids: It chose more expensive leather and materials, and it extended leg room by shortening the rear seat cushion, which also made it more comfortable.
The Chinese market has demanded similarly surprising products from American automakers before. Buicks, little-loved in 21st century America, are the hottest luxury cars in China, including the luxury version of the GL8 minivan, specially created for the market.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.