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.