By on February 28, 2013

The Ford EcoSport, launched last year into the wilds of South America, is being unleashed upon unsuspecting Europeans at the Geneva Motor Show. Handheld nerds already have been given an EcoSport preview at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Ford was in Barcelona to show off its improved SYNC. It has kept its familiar “give me a second while I think about this” responsiveness, as the video above demonstrates. With the EcoSport, Europeans will now be able to savor a car that is making South American soccer moms, I mean, consumers, giddy with pleasure. Could America be next?

According to reports, the Fiesta-based EcoSport will slot below the Ford Kuga, and is supposed to mix it up with the Opel Mokka and the Nissan Juke. Europeans will get 3 engine choices: a conventional 1.5L herding 115 horsies, a 1.0L Ecoboost Turbo that ponies up 125hp, and, otherwise it would be doomed in Europe, a 1.5L turbo-diesel that puts 90 hp in the drivers hand.

Coming back to the Barcelona preview, the new Ford will offer voice-activated Sync and a Ford version of GM’s On Star that’ll put the car in contact to the nearest rescue service in case of an accident. Neither system is available in Brazil. Maybe Sync doesn’t do Brazilian Portuguese? Or do Portuguese need to talk to the car in Spanish?

No word yet as to country of origin. Well, we are sure it won’t be made in Belgium. In Spain perhaps?

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17 Comments on “Ford EcoSport: Low Cost Crossover Released Into The Wastelands Of Europe...”

  • avatar

    The Ford EcoSport is a mini sport utility vehicle (SUV), originally built in Brazil by Ford since 2003 at the Camaçari plant. A second generation concept model was launched at the 2012 Delhi Motor Show and is intended to be a global car with a new factory in Chennai, India.[1]

    as i said, i rate this… a 1.0 turbo with the manual and a quasi 4wd system would do well anywhere just like the dacia duster

    • 0 avatar

      It’s been 3 months since the launch of the EcoSport in Brazil. It has been been able to wrest the sales title back from the Duster though the fight is far from over. Some say that there are waiting lists for both models, particulalry the most expensive models. Ford’s Titanium model retails for about US$35,000.

      Thoghh aimed at the smae buyer there are fundamental differences between both. Renault offers a 2.0, a 1.6, an auto and 4×4. Ford will pffer its powershift soon, as well as a 4×4. For now the car uses a 1.6 and a 2.0 unavailable in Europe. Rumors have it that the 1.0 will soon find its way here. The Brazilian Fiesta will also soon get the 1.5 so it possible the Eco will get it too.

      As to production the EcoSport is being built in Ford’s São Paulo plant. The plant in Camaçari is being readied to put together the new facelifted Fiesta, ending Mexican imports, and freeing up quotas for Ford to import more Fusions from Mexico.

      • 0 avatar

        There were rumors that four-wheel drive would be on the cards, but Ford was being coy about it, despite the underchassis having a very obvious cutaway for the driveshaft and differential (which the exhaust was not using).

        I’m quite eager to see how this little monstrosity goes when it gets here.

  • avatar

    Grill makes it look like a Hyundai.

  • avatar
    spreadsheet monkey

    If Ford gets the pricing right, and massages the CO2 emission figures enough to ensure a low annual tax charge, this car will sell VERY well in the UK.

    Regarding the production location, I expect this car will be built in Valencia, alongside the Fiesta.

    • 0 avatar
      Felis Concolor

      After spending a recent evening perusing various video reviews of automobiles in the UK, I learned how significant those CO2 taxes can be both there and in the rest of the EU; a shift of a few grams per kilometer can end up costing more in additional annual taxes than the difference in the fuel consumption itself. It’s no wonder Ford’s heavily pushing its 3-cylinder turbo gasoline engine.

      • 0 avatar
        spreadsheet monkey

        Yes, the CO2 taxes are a big deal here in the UK. As an example, the annual tax on a Ford Mondeo (Fusion) is £270 per year on the 2.3 auto, but only £135 a year on the 1.6 Ecoboost manual. This is in addition to the heavy fuel taxes paid at the pumps – the current price of a US gallon is around $8.

        Some manufacturers e.g. BMW are better than others at gaming the system and optimising gear ratios etc for the test speeds.

  • avatar

    When it came out, the first-gen EcoSport was a good idea and it looked OK, but otherwise it was a monstrosity. The engine was gutless, the doors clanged when they closed and the IP looked like it had been formed from melted down TV remotes. And it sold like hot cakes, which along with some other popular vehicles, has made me wonder about what motivates a Brazilian car buyer. Is it just price? It seems to be, ’cause some pig-ugly, low-rent cars get built there and no seems prepared to tell the king he has no clothes.

    I hope this second-gen version has been heavily (and mean from the ground up) revised, or else it’s in for a torrid time in Europe and North America, if it gets there. (The VW Fox was such a winner of an idea, too *sarcasm*). One place it could do well is China – another place where customers have never been to fussed about whether a car has slush-moulded plastics on the dash.

    • 0 avatar
      Athos Nobile

      I drove one with the 2.0 16V engine and it wasn’t slow.

      But yes, the interior was dreadful, like most Brazilian cars.

      • 0 avatar

        hola atos, i don’t think it’s that bad. It’s at least as good, or bad, as a civic’s. Now, if you’re talking about the previous one you’re correct. This one, as the possibility of going to the first world since it’s inception, the finishing is on par with rivals.

        • 0 avatar
          Athos Nobile

          First gen Marcelo. The one I drove was barely broken in (6K kms). That engine was brilliant, pulled strong on all gears and I pushed it to nearly 180 km/h. It got upset quite easily by the wind, even at 100 km/h

          A Japanese car is not a very good “benchmarking” example. I’ve seen one of the newest Megane and I am shocked at how nice the thing is inside. Also saw a 500 and horrors, heresy, Fiat, FIAT!!!!, can actually make a well finished car.

    • 0 avatar

      Hey motormouth!

      The EcoSPort was never a cheap car here. Average transaction prices are of around 55k reais which is about 27.5 thousand USD. You’re absolutely right on the interiors of the first generation. Terrible! No matter, BRazilians wanted a jacked up, SUV-looking car. They wanted it so bad that the Eco has been credited with keeping Ford in Brazil. At one point, Ford’s market share had dwindled to under 6%. Rumors abounded that Ford would close shop. While I never believed it, the EcoSport helped Ford get back to a healthier 10%, now they hover at 8 to 9%.

      The reasons for the EcoSport doing so well? It’s all image baby! In a country where the cheapest SUV hovers at 70-80,000 reais, the EcoSport at 50 seemed like FOrd was giving them away. Add to that that Ford had this market all to itself (until the Duster came along, 8, 9 yrs after the Eco), Brazilians were feeling rich and enjoying greater credit than ever (0 down, split it into 60 payments, at a very reasonable 1.5% a MONTH! – Ford at one point offered a 72 monthly payment plan), wham bam, record sales. If the car sold at 45k instead of 55k, I bet they could get over 10 000 sales a month easy.

      Now this car has only the name in common with the 1st gen. It is now built on the New Fiesta platform whereas the old one rested on the old 90s Fiesta. The interior has been beutified and improved somewhat though plastics abound (nothing you don’t see in cars of similar price though, in Brazil or elsewhere). If you like the Fiesta, you’ll probably like this car.

      • 0 avatar

        Marcelo, currency comparisons such as that don’t work. The price of a model in a given market is set a price the OEM thinks a the market will pay, and bears no relation to any outside factor, such as the US$. That does not avoid the fact that cars produced in Brazil are absurdly expensive when considering how a lot of them feature old or reworked technology and low-grade materials. Why do locals keep buying them? Well, as you say, there’s a glut of cheap credit (cheap in comparison to the late ’90s), plus they have no comparison by which to realize how badly they’re getting ripped off.

        The OEMs must love South America, and primarily Brazil, because they are making a killing in terms of margin on each vehicle sold. Now that’s something you can compare to other countries! (If you can get those figures, please share.)

        Another point is the level of equipment in Brazilian cars. Two airbags over six when comparing a Brazilian model to its European counterpart, cheap stereos, expensive leather (which is odd considering how much beef is eaten in Brazil), no alloy wheels, the list is endless.

        Going back to the second-gen EcoSport, let’s see how much that costs. If it’s a sandwich less than R$80K, I’ll eat my shorts. (Basing that on the mark up of the Fusion in Brazil, which in 2007 entered at about R$60K and now starts at R$93K.)

        (Athos, I drove the 1.0 first-gen EcoSport. It was shit.)

        • 0 avatar

          Actually, come to think of it, the only reason that this second-gen EcoSport is using the new Fiesta platform is that it’s going to be distributed outside South America. If it was only going to be sold locally, there’s no telling what type of warmed-over tech would’ve been glued together for this new model.

          I think that this is a sign that Brazilan car buyers will no longer be getting such sub-standard vehicles in comparison to the rest of the world, as global OEMs will find it less expensive to share the latest products (like VW bringing MQB to Anchieta and GM using the Delta II for the Cobalt) than to maintain production of older platforms (and parts) in remote locations. But it’s not before time.

          • 0 avatar

            Hey motormouth!

            Agree, agree, agree.

            Now as to the watmed up tech. Partly it’s because of the gov program. The more you showed you use tech developed in Brazil the more you can import and the less tax you’ll pay. That is a factor.

          • 0 avatar

            Marcelo, I read about that, the Inovar-Auto agreement, where OEMs building cars in Brazil will win exemptions from the IPI in return for emissions reductions; reductions won through the use of advanced tech. It sounds like a decent policy in local terms, but it really is totally protectionist.

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