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First Look: 2012 Ford B-Max

To B or not to B…

by on Feb.28, 2011

Ford European designer Stefan Lamm shows off the maker's new B-Max multi-purpose vehicle.

If Ford was hoping to make a splash with its newest microvan, the 2012 B-Max, it couldn’t have lucked into a better time to pull off the covers.

With the Mideast in turmoil and the Libyan crisis, in particular, pushing oil prices back up towards record levels, small cars are poised to become big business.  The question is just how far buyers are willing to downsize.

The new model, officials dubbed a Multi-Purpose Vehicle, or MPV, in Europe, will make its formal debut at the Geneva Motor Show, tomorrow, though Ford gave a handful of media a preview of the 2012 B-Max a day ahead of schedule.

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For those unfamiliar with industry logic, the “B-“ refers to the size of the van’s underlying platform.  It also reveals that the Ford B-Max shares its “architecture” with the subcompact Ford Fiesta, which made its return to the U.S. market last year.

But there’s a double-meaning, in that the B-Max doesn’t have the normal B-pillar.  More on that in a moment.