China's Jiangling is apparently set to receive the tooling and production rights to Ford's Escape when the SUV is discontinued next year in North America.

It's no secret that Ford's Escape is getting a little long in the tooth. Despite a refresh in 2008, the basic vehicle dates back to late 2000, when it was first introduced in North America. As such, the current Escape is set to be put out to pasture at the end of 2011.

Now, a report out of China suggests that Ford might pass the tooling and production rights to the Escape on to one of its Chinese partners, Jiangling, to allow the company to build its own version of the Escape.

The report actually suggests that Ford will provide Jiangling with the previous-generation Escape's European counterpart tooling. From 2000 to 2006, Ford sold a mildly modified version of the Escape - rebadged as a Maverick - in various European markets.

A Jiangling-badged SUV based heavily on the Escape/Maverick would be built in China at one of the automaker's assembly plants. The automaker's proposed plant in the Xiaolan Economy Development Zone in south China, wouldgive it the capacity for 170,000 or more vehicles annually.

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