Editorial: Ford Is At Risk Of Missing The B-CUV Boat
Chevy Trax, Jeep Renegade. Honda HR-V. Mazda CX-3. Nissan Juke. Fiat 500X. There’s little doubt that the B-segment crossover is about to explode in North America. So, where is Ford in all of this?
Ford markets the Ecosport in a number of world markets, from Brazil to Europe to India, as a smaller CUV that slots under the Kuga (which is our Escape in world markets). One would assume that given the “One Ford” program that is supposed to harmonize vehicles for sale across different markets, the Ecosport could quickly and easily be brought up to spec, both in terms of regulatory compliance and the level of content that North American buyers expect.
Only Ford planners know the real answer, but two immediate hurdles stand out. First off, the 1.0L 3-cylinder Ecoboost is the main powertrain in many markets. This may suffice in the BRIC countries and other markets where displacement-based taxation make big engines a burden, but North Americans would need something more powerful and more refined. The lack of an automatic option in our market doesn’t help either.
Ford would also have to find a suitable manufacturing location for the car. Since this is a fairly low-margin product, Mexico would likely be the only NAFTA country that would allow for profitable manufacturing of the Ecosport. Otherwise, it’s got to be imported from India, Brazil or Thailand, and that means shipping costs and potential tariffs, even though labor costs will be much lower.
The next-generation Fiesta is said to be coming from factories in Thailand, so perhaps that will give Ford a chance to bring the Ecosport over here. Given that the Escape is one of the top players in the compact SUV space, bringing over the Ecosport seems like the right move for Ford – assuming the numbers make sense.
Join the conversation
Latest Car ReviewsRead more
Latest Product ReviewsRead more
- Buickman the only fire should be in the board room.they just hired an executive from Whirlpool.that should help them go do the drain.
- Mike Beranek I don't care about the vehicles. But I'd be on board for inspecting the drivers.
- Art Vandelay Coming to a rental lot near you. And when it does know there is a good chance EBFlex and Tassos have puffed each other's peters in it!
- Art Vandelay I doubt there is even room for EBFlex and Tassos to puff each other's peters in that POS
- Art Vandelay The lack of side windows is a boon for EBFlex and Tassos as nobody can see them puffing each other's peters back there!
Derek, how does Ford make money selling a B segment CUV in the US? Not Mini or Fiat, but Ford. Ford's customers have been trained for decades to expect that smaller vehicles have a smaller price tag. No matter how much development cost Ford throws at that market segment, the end product will be a small Ford with a small price tag and small sales numbers. What US Ford customers are saying that the Focus based Escape is too big? In the past there was a CAFE incentive to build small vehicles at a loss, but current CAFE standards adjust the requirement based on footprint.
Derek, what's stopping Ford from bringing over the highly susccessful B-Max, C-Max, and S-Max here in Europe to the States? I'm assuming it's money, but the development costs should be over and done with and you'd have the range covered.