By on March 5, 2013

In the good old days, when things were how they were supposed to, the first world got new cars first, and the third world got them three generations later. This time-tested principle is being set on its head. It started as an ugly trend in Japan, where Japanese received their new Latio ages after people in China or Thailand had already wrecked it. Subaru did a similar stunt with the XV. Now this disease is spreading to Europe, and the carrier is the Ford EcoSport.

The Ford EcoSport trucklet already is available in Brazil. And in India. When the EcoSport was announced for Europe, Marcelo des Vasconcellos had the story, because he can go to the next Ford dealer in Brazil to look at one, whereas Euros have to go to the Geneva Auto Show.

Remember how Marcelo was musing where the European EcoSport would be built?  Senhor Marcelo was just rubbing it in. The EcoSport destined for Europe will be made in India, Stephen Odell, chief of Ford Europe, told a Reuters reporter today in Geneva.

What’s more, says Reuters:

“The EcoSport is a key part of Ford’s strategy to hold its market share in Europe, where an economic downturn has sent vehicle sales tumbling. Ford is expanding its SUV lineup and aims to sell 1 million SUVs in Europe by 2017 or so.”

Take that, tumbling Euros. No more “sell it to the Indians.” Europe is so poor that a key part of Ford’s strategy is made in India.

The EcoSport isn’t a low-cost car in the same vein as the Dacia Duster, but the emerging market assembly location will help it compete against the Korean-built Opel Mokka, as well as the UK-built Nissan Juke, which is doing well in Europe. In addition to a 1.5L diesel engine, a 1.5L gasoline four-cylinder and 1.0L EcoBoost three-cylinder will be offered.

With features like SYNC and EcoBoost engines, the EcoSport is already a bit more upscale than the Juke and Mokka, but the production decisions behind it are more in line with the low-cost Duster. European versions will be sourced from India, as mentioned, with other markets getting EcoSports made in Brazil, Thailand or China. Then again, small cars are so unprofitable that building them in low-cost locations makes plenty of sense.

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30 Comments on “European EcoSport To Be Made In India...”


  • avatar
    stephenjmcn

    I wouldn’t say this is more upscale than the Juke & Mokka, it looks considerably more Third World than either. Ford has a poor record in making a success of non-Euro models in Europe, thinking of Probe, Cougar, Escape, Explorer……

    • 0 avatar
      chas404

      the current boxy ecosport as sold in colombia and made in brazil is a pretty decent tiny suv. i like the the looks of the renault duster made in medellin, colombia. third world is the future of auto sales whether we like it or not.

    • 0 avatar
      jpolicke

      Which Cougar – the last one? Wasn’t that a Ford Euro project that got turned around and sold as a Mercury here? I know it was sold over there as a Ford Cougar.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    Are rear brakes available as an option?

  • avatar
    readallover

    A more cynical version might be: Give it to them first, then sell it here after all the bugs are worked out.

  • avatar
    ash78

    As long as they remember to change the names of the trimlines for Europe. Nobody in England wants an “Untouchable.”

  • avatar
    Hummer

    Man, that thing is fugly, an outboard spare tire on a tiny jacked up car?

    • 0 avatar
      stephenjmcn

      1998 Daihatsu Terios, anyone?

      http://trialx.com/curetalk/wp-content/blogs.dir/7/files/2012/11/cars/1998_Daihatsu_Terios-1.jpg

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        Man, I don’t understand the desire for these vehicles, if you want an SUV, get a SUV, if you want a car, get a car.

        To me these have to be classed as bad competitors to minivans, they are made to do what minivans do yet extremely unefficiently and in a much smaller setting. They have no resale after a few years because no one will want them, unlike old cars and old trucks/SUV’s

        • 0 avatar
          arun

          Apparently, you haven’t been to one of these countries.
          Long story short, these are pretty big vehicles simply because of a combination of traffic density and extremely narrow roads..

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            That would be correct, Other than a couple islands in the gulf, I’ve stayed here. But if I had no options (as these people) I can’t see why you would want this/these over a sporty stationwagon.

  • avatar

    This new Ford will sell very well. Reasons:

    – modern design
    – it’s SUV/CUV, wagon on stilts that is the rage the world over
    – brand; it’s not a Dacia.

    It’s the right car for the right moment. We’ll have to wait on price, but I believe it’1l be competitive. Though small, inside it doesn’t make you feel poor.

    Comparing to Duster, it looks shorter, taller and narrower. The trunk is smaller. So, if you want better space and trunk, go to your Dacia dealer. If you want swoopy modern design, SYNC etc. go to Ford.

    As a further rub to 1st world consumers, the length of the car was dictated by India’1s 4 m long car rule (if smaller falls in smaller tax bracket). So cars for first world are now designed and built taking into consideration 3rd world requirements.

    As Bertel said, the world is on its head.

    • 0 avatar

      Marcelo, in terms someone who is familiar with Ford’s US lineup would understand, the EcoSport is basically a Fiesta SUV, more or less, right? I have yet to see one in the metal but given the execution on Ford’s other global models I would expect it to be pretty nice for the money.

      • 0 avatar

        Hey John,

        You’re absolutely correct, the EcoSport is built on the Fiesta platform and thus they share many components. The sheetmetal is completely different and they also offer in Brazil a 4×4 system that can be turned on via a button on the dashboard. It has limited use cause it has no low range transfer case, but you have seen this setup before, I’m sure.

        I also think it’s pretty nice for the money, though for my money, and we don’t get the Juke or Mokka Bertel mentioned, I’d choose the Renault Duster. Why? For the reasons listed in my post. It’s roomier, comes with a nice 1.6 engine (or a 2.0 if I go for the top trim. In Brazil both EcoSport and Duster are offered with 1.6s and 2.0s with or without the 4×4. Both have the same price. The Duster is roomier and usually Renault offers more content for the same money. If I were single though I’d give the Eco a hard look. As I have a baby and the wife prefers the look of the Duster,we are having a very good experience with a Logan (the car the Duster is based on) it’s possible one day we’ll have a Duster

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      While true it may be positioned for multiple markets, there is no way it can be a success in the 1st world market, there much better options on both sides of the spectrum, be it options, LOOKS, price, feasability, and bigger size, all for less.

      • 0 avatar

        Hey Hummer,

        Get back to us in a while. I think you’ll be surprised. The EcoSport fits the bill very well for the Western Europe of today. Small, efficient, is the body currently in vogue…People may want a Range Rover but few have the means. Many will go with the EcoSport as a “good enough” substitute.

        As to people wanting SUVs, many, many people want the SUV look, but they’d rather do without the initial high asking price, inefficiency, size. The EcoSport fits the bill nicely for these consumers.

        As to America, no word yet if it’s going there. WIth your kind of thinking being prevalent in America, it’s very possible Ford won’t risk it.

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          Although I agree, I feel there isn’t any options for people in these, or for that matter any country for people that want small SUV’s, the last example I can even think of was the 1st gen S10’s They were cheap, simple and not terriblely inefficient (in terms of back then).

          But no, this is still rather strange to me, I just can’t see how people can justify this over a stationwagon. But to each their own I suppose.

          • 0 avatar
            el scotto

            Two reasons: 1. Some of us WILL NOT drive a station wagon; bad Vista Cruiser flashbacks. 2. It is smaller than an Escape. Ford will market and sell that way; cheap leases and the proverbially low,low monthly payment.

            Yes, I know the station wagon Jihad is strong on TTAC. To my casual observations in traffic, the station wagons fans are just talking trash; few to be seen. Go to the dealers and observe few new wagons being offered. No, there is not a “pent-up” demand for wagons in the marketplace. Expecting reasons from the wagon loyalists for low fat cheese and why wagons are so superior anytime now. The true believers will explain why all wagons should be brown, manual, and diesel.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            What does it mean that Subaru and Volvo couldn’t be bothered selling wagons without any CUV pretenses in the US? They were two companies closely associated with wagons, and with wagon sales that must have at least rivaled their sedan sales. Even they determined that the regulatory and market environment made wagons a waste of time.

  • avatar
    JaySeis

    I ‘d buy it.

    On an other note, in the good old days, before the malaise era, the US made pretty crappy cars. Took A. Demming shaking the japanese automakers to their core (and Harley Davidson for that matter). Today we have cars that don’t kill you with: rusted out exhaust systems, burned valves, crappy brakes, burned out starters, lousy mileage, rusty bodywork, etc. Sure their are crap autos today but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to buy a vehicle that’ll put 100K miles without much of anything. Try that in ’66.

    Developing country’s roads are hell on vehicles. Since US roads are going to hell, maybe an India sourced EcoSport is tougher than some US wanna be SUV’s.

  • avatar
    indyb6

    Oh Lordy lord.. Look at that ride height.. Puts those jacked up 4x4s to shame.. But I guess Indian roads (or lack thereof) require such odd suspension.

    I wonder what a stanceworks member will have to say about this.. Needs MOAR low?

  • avatar
    levi

    “Then again, small cars are so unprofitable that building them in low-cost locations makes plenty of sense.”

    Welcome to the brave new world of global auto manufacturing.

    All platforms will be absorbed. Resistance is futile.

    VW be damned.

  • avatar
    niky

    I’ve never seen the problem with these small jacked-up crossovers. Not any more than I see problems with the large jacked-up crossovers that pass for SUVs nowadays.

    Third world roads are horrible. And traffic is slow. Whatever aerodynamic penalty you pay from driving a tall car is more than balanced out by the ability of said car to absorb road imperfections and to wade through frequent floods. The Ecosport’s 550mm (about 22″) wading depth means it’s better than many full-sized crossovers, and the approach and departure angles are decent (I guess you could saw the front airdam off if you want more forward clearance).

    Still… if I needed to go off-road, I’d pick the Jimny (or better yet, the Maruti Gypsy) first.

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      “Third world roads are horrible. And traffic is slow. Whatever aerodynamic penalty you pay from driving a tall car is more than balanced out by the ability of said car to absorb road imperfections and to wade through frequent floods.”

      The 205/45R17 summer tires will be perfect then!

    • 0 avatar
      indyb6

      Yep.. Gypsy is a great choice.. I’d also look at Tata Sumo and Mahindra Bolero.

  • avatar
    Onus

    I’m in Russia now vs my usual place in the USA.

    I know people here will love this and the cost will be low which is a good plus for them. Cars cost way too much here with taxes and such. They seem to love sedans and small suvs here. A fair amount of hatch backs but not as many as western europe.

    Quite a few imported usa suvs here. Saw two pickups also.

    I was in a skoda yeti. Neat little suv. My tall self fits very well in the back. I also fit well in the back of a hatchback nissian tiida.

  • avatar

    there have been cases where the previous ‘normal’ order was turned on its head. In brazil it has happened at least twice. Coincidentally, both times brazilian chevy launched two opel products before opel, meriva and chevette

  • avatar
    motormouth

    I took a good look at the EcoSport on the Ford stand at the Geneva show and it seems pretty decent, especially compared to the previous gen. It’s still very Fiesta on the interior (and underneath, too), but that sharing will cut costs. Whether the production coming out of India will vary by market should be interesting, maybe Euro cars will have better trim materials and equipment than vehicles produced for the local market. There’s no doubt that Ford has a set profit margin in mind for this and won’t risk over-building the car in markets that don’t need soft-touch interiors, etc.


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  • Contributing Writers

  • Jack Baruth, United States
  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Vojta Dobes, Czech Republic
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