By on December 15, 2014

800px-Ford_Ecosport_-_Mondial_de_l'Automobile_de_Paris_2012_-_003

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.

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163 Comments on “Editorial: Ford Is At Risk Of Missing The B-CUV Boat...”


  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    If they haven’t already announced the EcoSport for the US by now, isn’t it already too late?

  • avatar
    Occam

    I’m strangely drawn to the Renegade. I think it’s because my parents always had XJ cherokees when I was a kid, and the Renegade looks more like an XJ than anything I’ve seen in a while.

    It’s almost the same size, in fact! (but a bit taller)
    Renegade:
    WB: 101.2 in (2,570 mm)
    Length: 166.6 in (4,230 mm)
    Width: 71.0 in (1,800 mm)
    Height 66.5 in (1,690 mm

    1987 Cherokee XJ:
    WB: 101.4 in (2,576 mm)
    Length: 165.3 in (4,199 mm)
    Width: 70.5 in (1,791 mm)
    Height: 63.4 in (1,610 mm)

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      If there were a waiting list for the Renegade Trailhawk I’d be on it

      … because, first Jeep was an XJ

    • 0 avatar
      319583076

      Interesting comparison as my current winter driver is a 96 XJ that I expect to replace in another year or three.

    • 0 avatar
      DevilsRotary86

      It never ceases to amaze me how small the original Cherokee was. The wheel base is almost the same as my RSX!

      • 0 avatar
        energetik9

        That’s beacuse American [email protected]@’s have grown exponentially. Cars (and everything else) continues to grow to accomodate. That is except for airline seats.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          “American [email protected]@’s have grown exponentially”

          And that’s why I cannot understand the concerted effort to cram Americans into ever-smaller sardine cans on wheels and pregnant roller skates with doors.

          • 0 avatar
            energetik9

            “And that’s why I cannot understand the concerted effort to cram Americans into ever-smaller sardine cans on wheels and pregnant roller skates with doors.”

            Plenty of Americans, myself included, do not suffer from an ever exanding waist line. Not sure what you mean by ever-smaller cans (cars). Most cars that I know of are growing with every model release and to excess. It’s pretty hard to find strong performing small(er) cars these days.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Neither my wife nor I are fat but we prefer larger vehicles to drive around in, even by ourselves. Nothing midsize or compact for us.

            Cars and CUVs, OTOH, are produced and offered to offset the CAFE penalties extracted by mandates that prescribe fuel economy, which necessitates smaller, lighter vehicles.

            B-CUVs did not exist prior to all these government mandates.

            Don’t misunderstand, I am a proponent of as much choice as possible, but our choice in large vehicles is continually getting smaller and more expensive.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @HDC

            “And that’s why I cannot understand the concerted effort to cram Americans into ever-smaller sardine cans on wheels and pregnant roller skates with doors.”

            I just was contemplating this myself. I think its a complicated issue, but I see a possible correlation between it, peak “cheap” recoverable oil, and recovery rates.

            Let’s look at the VP Cheney chaired [held in secret] 2001 Energy Conference’s publicly released report:

            “Between 1991 and 2000, Americans used 17
            percent more energy than in the previous
            decade, while during that same period, do-
            mestic energy production rose by only 2.3
            percent.”

            17% in nine years with a 2.3% offset? Uh huh.

            “Oil is the nation’s largest source of
            primary energy, serving almost 40 percent
            of U.S. energy needs.”

            40% is kinda steep.

            “The share of oil in U.S. energy supply
            has declined since the early 1970s, the re-
            sult of growth in other fuels, particularly
            coal and nuclear. Per capita oil consump-
            tion, which reached a peak in 1978, has fall-en by 20 percent from that level”

            That’s good. Wait nuclear has grown?

            “In 2020, oil is projected to account for
            roughly the same share of U.S. energy con-
            sumption as it does today.”

            Really?

            So quick and dirty to summarize:
            -In nine years at the time energy demand in the US alone grew by 14.7 after the offsets in new supplies%.
            -US oil consumption had fallen 20% in twenty one years from 1978-2000.
            -Oil accounted for 40% of US energy usage.
            -In nineteen years hence they believed the share of oil in US overall energy usage would remain flat.

            http://www.wtrg.com/EnergyReport/National-Energy-Policy.pdf

            While demand has continued to fall since 2007, the share of oil has actually decreased to 37% as of 2010.

            http://junksciencecom.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/role_of_renewables_in_us_energy-large.jpg

            However in the ten years between 2001 and 2011, Chinese overall energy consumption has nearly tripled in terms of BTUs.

            http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/images/2012.09.21/Chinaconsump.png

            Fortunately for the US, its energy share in oil is only 18%, but for a billion people vs 307 million. China’s hunger for oil can only increase with time.

            http://www.eia.gov/countries/analysisbriefs/China/images/total_energy_consumption.png

            Wow, its almost as if gov’t did something correctly (using their data of course).

            So what’s the point? This:

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peak_oil#mediaviewer/File:US_Crude_Oil_Production_versus_Hubbert_Curve.png

            The shale revolution I believed staved off what could have become a messy situation by now in terms of global conflict. Here’s a global chart:

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peak_oil#mediaviewer/File:World_Oil_Production.png

            Notice production stayed flat globally between around 2004-07, went down, but then corrected, and even in increased over the 2007 value around 2012-13. What happened in that time frame? US shale flooded the market, which was an unexpected event for those planning future energy policy in the early 2000s. In order to accommodate the perceived increased demand from PRC, India, and the ASEAN nations using an early 2000s knowledge/mindset US usage would have to remain flat or even decrease, which has occurred. Recovery rates of maturing fields in 2001 would eventually decrease and at the time the world’s largest source of proven but underutilized reserves was in… Iraq. If you’re in the highest pay grades and are given data to suggest world demand could outstrip known supplies in a decade, what do you do? So in addition to the Iraqi invasion, I believe in order to keep missiles from flying dot gov leaned on various industries including automakers to create a leaner future energy quotient. Hence tin cans and en mass turbo two strokes for all, except for those juiced in or in high tax brackets. I would venture to guess other countries are already or will follow suit on their own respective populations with tariffs, displacement taxes, fake global warming initiatives, or other methods of control. There is only so much recoverable oil at any given time and it can only be sold at a high enough price before it drives economies into a ditch, since of course oil drives all real growth.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            28-Cars-Later, let me commend you on your grasp of the subject. I would recommend your thesis worth reading to anyone with an interest in this line of thinking. Hell, even the critics and eco-wieners can’t argue with it except they won’t like it.

            You probably remember that for years I have been saying that America is afloat on oil and that gasoline should not cost as much as it does. Oil helped America grow, drives about everything within our economy including medicine.

            Off the top of my head here’s a breakdown of the dollar we pay for gasoline: 68% the cost of crude, 13% taxes, 15% distribution and marketing, 4% the cost to refine it.

            Maybe this is why I continue to buy large vehicles. And maybe this is also why Americans have made the pickup trucks the best-selling vehicles in America.

            But, I, too, have a recommended book read: John R. MacArthur’s The Obstacles to Democracy in America.

            The book gives even the politically disoriented an indepth primer into how our government works politically, regardless of who’s in power.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Thanks for the compliment and book recommendation. I have always had an interest in certain industries, namely oil and mining. These interests have never paid me a dime but modern society cannot continue without them. Oil especially is fascinating due to its relationship to major geopolitical events (which is another interest of mine).

            Only 13% in taxation? What a deal! We’re paying 21% presently set to jump another ten cents in January. By 2016 its very possible crude breaks triple digits again though and the high percentage will level out, so there is a silver lining.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            28-Cars-Later, I think you may be right. I believe that once the West/NATO breaks Putin by destroying his Ruble and his economy, there is no reason to keep the price of oil low.

            In America and Canada we will still have a glut of oil but eventually the economies of China and Asia will pick up again and the demand for oil will increase.

            Europe? God only knows how or when the Euro-economies will spin up.

            I say, enjoy the low oil prices in America while you can.

            Ironically for us, my wife started working from home on 1 Oct 2014, and our consumption of gas for the vehicles has dropped to next to nothing except for running my AC generators every Sunday.

            But I still have two 55-gallon drums of PEMEX gasoline for the gas-generators and a spare 25-gallon drum of diesel for the Wacker generator.

            It’ll be a while before we drive our vehicles again, now down to just once a week for a 52 mile roundtrip into town or the airbase.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            @28 your grasp of world economics is commendable – Thanks for the excellent summation

        • 0 avatar
          Tinn-Can

          What are the internal dimensions? It seems that most modern cars are squeezing the passengers into smaller and smaller areas due to thicker doors and dashes for safety stuff…

  • avatar
    energetik9

    “There’s little doubt that the B-segment crossover is about to explode in North America.” Not so sure about this. It may be exploding in car magazines and television advertisments, but in application I don’t see any explosion and don’t expect to. Or this could just be my bias based on how silly these cars are….

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      Or maybe you’re like me, and don’t like the overuse of the now clichéd “explosion” metaphor.

    • 0 avatar
      WaftableTorque

      The B-segment crossover only exists because none of the manufacturers are willing to sell you a la carte options without being grouped into pricy option packages.

      Sure, a RAV4 or Rogue might start in the mid-$20K, but just try adding AWD and a navigation system, and good luck finding one (or any of their competitors) for under $35K (Cdn prices, where I am).

      • 0 avatar
        formula m

        Exactly, just finished shopping them and found you don’t get much for under $33,000 cnd. A small CUV with AWD and decent content for $28,000 should sell pretty well. The Trax just looks too awkward to me. Would like to see an HRV in person.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      Exactly. Let’s make sure these things sell before declaring it a trend. It’s possible that Ford is the one making the right decision.

    • 0 avatar
      Superdessucke

      I wish it would explode alright, though probably not in the same way the automotive industry lackeys have in mind.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Ok, rant time… “Hey, Ford, Ecosport, Ranger, Everest, Troller in North America… DUH!”

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Ford’s response:

      “Maybe, no, no, and no.”

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      A local Ford dealership told me they were planning to bring a Ranger to the US in the next couple years.

      I didn’t believe him, but he was adamant.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      Something tells me the Troller would just end up like the FJ Cruiser, never moving more than 56K units a year.
      Ranger…only if the Colorado does really well, and even then, it’s a long shot.
      Everest…given that Ford, Chevy, et al. have almost entirely abandoned BOF SUVs except for the “big wagons,” I couldn’t see Ford coming back. Maybe if Chevy brought the Colorado-based TrailBlazer over first, but that’s an even longer shot than bringing over the Ranger.

      EcoSport is the closest thing to a certainty. B-segment crossovers seem to be the next hot-ticket item.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        Ford is such a weenie, “Let Chevy do it first, we don’t want to make a boo boo”

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          Hey, it’s worked so far. When was the last time Ford actually took an all-or-nothing, make-it-or-break-it gamble on something? The ’86 Taurus?

          • 0 avatar
            Occam

            ’96 Taurus design.
            ’97 F150 design.
            Retro Mustang
            DCTs in economy cars.
            Aluminum bodied pickup.
            Ecoboost engine in pickup.

            That’s just off the top of my head.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            “When was the last time Ford actually took an all-or-nothing, make-it-or-break-it gamble on something? The ’86 Taurus?”

            … and how did that turn out, pretty damn good! Not to mention, Mustang, Pinto, Explorer, I’d say Ford does pretty darn good with risk-taking

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            The final Thunderbird was a risk and fail.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            The Thunderbird was a intended low volume “Halo” car that nobody asked for or wanted based on the Lincoln LS. Not a big deal

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I thought they were taking a risk by dipping into the retro demand market, just like the SSR, PT Cruiser and retro Mustang versions around the early 00s.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            The retro Mustang was a gamble? I thought it came out right when retro appeal to the baby boomers was highest (SSR, PT Cruiser, HHR, etc.)

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            The HHR wasn’t around yet!

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            The HHR came out the same year as the retro Mustang. The Thunderbird had an expected annual volume of 25K. No big deal

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            The aluminum F-150 with the 2.7TT as volume engine is certainly a make-it-or-break-it gamble.

            Before that, the last one was the decision to get out of the midsize BOF SUV market and try to get those customers to buy only CUVs instead. That gamble paid off very handsomely.

            Mustang is never a make-it-or-break-it gamble.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            When was the last time Ford actually took an all-or-nothing, make-it-or-break-it gamble on something?

            2015?

            Aluminum F150?

            Some say that approach will fail.

            (Just gave Big Al from Oz an intro)

  • avatar

    Capacity is the near-term challenge. Cuautitlán Stamping and Assembly Plant, where the Fiesta is built, would be the logical place to be building it *right now*, but it’s a small plant and I don’t know if it can support an additional 10k a month (or whatever) EcoSports on the existing line. But I think it’s very possible that the next-gen EcoSport will come here a year or so after the next-gen Fiesta does.

    FWIW, every time I ask Ford folks about this — and I have asked a whole bunch over the last year, including Mark Fields himself — they smile and say they’re watching the market with interest, but have nothing to announce. So it’s not like they’re sleeping on the opportunity, they’re just waiting ’til it makes sense for them.

    • 0 avatar
      olddavid

      Could you please tell him a retired employee of his finance arm is insulted that they off shored so much capacity? All apologists will shrug and say that’s just the way things are, but Ford didn’t take the BK route and take the taxpayers money, so why not make NA production a selling point? The goodwill potential should appeal to the base, yes? It baffles me they could build a car 12,000 miles away and ship it profitably. If the Germans can make money with local production, everyone can.

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        The Germans are building up capital in Mexico. Yes, they can make money in Spartanburg, but they will make even more money in Mexico. Building cars isn’t out of the capabilities of anyone. Once you have a good standardized Production System, you can leverage it anywhere. Ford still has many north of the border assembly plants. Look to the supply base if you want to feel bad about off shoring. There is where the most manufacturing jobs lie.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          I thought it was skilled machinists and local tool and die support that was the thorn in the side of auto manufacturers just setting-up shop anywhere

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          I thought it was skilled machinists and local tool and die support that was the thorn in the s1de of auto manufacturers just setting-up shop anywhere

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            When we launched in Mexico, we shipped tooling to Dearborn Tool and Die after a bunch of Mexican and Canadian tool makers failed. Two dudes with a combined 75-80 years of tool and die experience fixed a multimillion dollar problem in ten minutes.

            Just be prepared with a go to carrier that has a FAST CBP clearance.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            I have heard that from others as well. Sometimes, companies “contract” outs!de specialists and send them to Mexico for “temporary duty” to clear up or rectify a problem.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      “they smile and say they’re watching the market with interest, but have nothing to announce.”

      Meanwhile GM and FCA have similar vehicles on showroom floors… Enjoy the show, Ford

      • 0 avatar
        caltemus

        The Trax will be “Availiable early 2015”. The 500XL will be “Availiable late 2015”. There isn’t a date listed for the Renegade. The Buick Encore is the only american offering in the showroom right now, and it was one of the first in the segment. I’m guessing Ford will announce it if/when the engineering changes are finalized (powertrain swap, associated epa testing, etc).

  • avatar
    EspritdeFacelVega

    This is especially bad for Ford in Canada, where I am at the moment, as B-CUVs are perfect for Toronto and other Cdn urban markets (meaning 80+% of the market) at this time of year.

    But even where I live in Texas I see lots of Nissan Jukes and even 500Ls, and as a class this size makes a lot of sense for Dallas’ uptown crowd, Houston’s urbanites, or, well, anyone in Austin who doesn’t want a Prius.

    Lower fuel prices may delay their introduction and wider acceptance in the US market, but I think there’s definitely a healthy market for these. I’ve looked at the EcoSport on the Ford Mexico site and it looks like quite an appealing car.

    As a Mazda 5 owner and Ford C-Max fan, I’m sorry to see the disappearance of the oh-so-sensible-yet-fun B-size minivans from the US, with only the C-Max really now remaining after 2015. The C-Max, Mazda 5, new Kia Rondo, full Benz B-Class, Chev Orlando, etc are all sold in Canada, as will be the next-gen Mazda 5 (I understand Mazda is dropping the 5 in the US, unsurprisingly). Mazda never promoted the 5 in the US the way they did in Canada, which is a shame.

    • 0 avatar
      Richard Chen

      The US is getting the 2015 Mazda5, it’s up on mazdausa.com.

      The manual transmission is no longer available and moonroof only on the Grand Touring.

      • 0 avatar
        rodface

        Well darn, I thought it was official that it was dead this year, or was that just speculation?

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          rodface, it’s such a dynamic business that often the best laid plans go awry.

          A few years back we learned that certain vehicles would be discontinued, but they’re still in production today because upon learning this, the buyers spiked the demand for them.

          One lady we know bought what she thought was the last Ridgeline. A guy we know bought what he thought was going to be the last FJ.

          Now the pressure is on about the projected demise of the Durango. And sales of the Durango are up.

          We won’t know anything for sure until it actually happens, like the demise of the Dakota, Ranger and Colorado/Canyon.

          All vehicles eventually are phased out and superseded, but sometimes the OEMs crank out one or two more production runs to capitalize on a good thing like increased sales.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            The Durango won’t “go away”. Throw Jeep badges on a Durango + add $$$$ to the price + same dealership + same factory = profit.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            bball40dtw, I hope so. I’ve got a couple of nephews in California who were wondering if they bought orphan Citadels.

  • avatar
    DAC1991

    The Ecosport is one the worst small CUV’s on the market. Well, at least in Europe. It looks quite odd (tall and narrow), a trunk door that opens to the left, because of the spare tire that’s mounted on it, low grade materials on the inside and a poor fit and finish as well. The only upside of the car is the 1.0 Ecoboost engine (which is, in contrast to what the author claims, very refined). On top of that, the Ecosport is quite expensive. All in all it is no match for the Renault Captur, Peugeot 2008 and Opel Mokka. No wonder it is not a success in Europe.

    • 0 avatar

      Alex Dykes seems to prefer 1.0 Echoboost over Ford’s 4-cylinder offerings. He says that the diffrence on the road is “night and day” in favour of the 3-cylinder engine. Here’s the video:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZH9mhJ-m9D0

      Based on what Alex is saying, I suspect Derek did not know what he was typing about. Completely blew it. However, his point about the lack of an automatic version is valid, IMHO.

      • 0 avatar
        DAC1991

        Thanks for the video. Ford’s 1.0 Ecoboost is one of the most praised three cylinders in Europe. It almost feels like you’re driving a four cylinder.
        The Ecosport can be ordered with an automatic gearbox by the way. A six speed Powershift.

  • avatar
    Ihatejalops

    I’m pretty sure anything crossover at the moment will be a “sales leader”. I put that in quotes because it just takes away from other sales in the company. It’s almost a wash. It’d be nice for a company to have a line focus rather than trying to just slice the pie even more. Hey maybe a CUV only brand could work?

  • avatar

    It may not be as simple as “add EcoSport, get lots of sales”. For instance, Ford may have reason to believe that offering the EcoSport in North America would result in sales stolen from the Escape (or possibly even the Fusion) unless gas prices go way up, and the Escape and Fusion would almost certainly be more profitable products than the EcoSport.

    But if I had to bet, I’d bet that there’s a long-term plan to bring the next-generation EcoSport to North America, because CAFE.

  • avatar
    petezeiss

    How ’bout bringing that B-Max over? That’s pretty sweet. Or is that the “Ecosport” hybrid version?

  • avatar
    jhefner

    I too thought that Ford should import the EcoSport into the North American market; but on further research and reflection I am not sure that is such a good idea.

    It was originally built for the BRIC markets, and in particular to Indian taxation codes. So, it has a spartan interior, and a spare tire that hangs on the back of the car (is there any other car sold nowdays with an external spare?) So I really don’t think it is a good enough product to compete in developed markets against products like the Chevy Trax, Jeep Renegade. Honda HR-V. Mazda CX-3. Nissan Juke. and Fiat 500X.

    In addition, it has only generated mixed reviews in the UK and Europe, where it stands a better chance of acceptance than North America, where small cars make up a smaller part of the market.

    http://www.autocar.co.uk/car-review/ford/ecosport

    http://www.autoexpress.co.uk/ford/ecosport

    Finally, it would have to do well in crash tests; looks like it scored four out of five stars in NCAP tests:

    http://www.euroncap.com/results/ford/ecosport/538.aspx

  • avatar
    Richard Chen

    Low margins? No problem, Lincoln MKB.

  • avatar
    dwford

    I’m sure it will be coming soon. Ford has the 1.5T motor that would fit right in. If it’s sold in Europe, then it meets all the crash test reg’s and could be easily converted for the US market. I can’t imagine Ford would miss the boat on this segment.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      If it is sold in Europe then it does not meet US crash regualtions and will need a new front structure or sheetmetal and new airbags since the US regulations are centered around occupant safety and are less concerned with pedestrian safety. Not to mention the need for different lighting and interior materials that meet US flame spread and combustion by-product regulations.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    The EcoSport is no match for the Encore, which can deliver superior fuel economy, luxury, and can also produce fuel as it drives about.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      AND…you can use the cargo volume statistics with the front passenger seat folded down to make it seem like it has the same storage space as an Escape or CR-V. MAGIC.

    • 0 avatar
      Monty

      Just wait for the Trifecta tune on the Encore – an easy 100 MPG at WOT.

    • 0 avatar
      energetik9

      Isn’t the Encore that micro Buick? Every time I see that it looks slightly cartoonish.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        It certainly is, and yes it looks ridiculous because it’s all smashed. It is not the size of a proper car.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        It’s a mini-me Enclave and looks adorable especially when following an Enclave around town

        • 0 avatar
          davefromcalgary

          Lie2me, you misspelled “tragic”

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Oh, sorry… /sarcasm, there fixed it

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            Encore sarc isn’t always easy to recognize. The things have a legit following (God knows why).

            I am anti B-segment though. B-CUV almost all of them, and a good chunk of B-cars. The proportions just don’t lend themselves to attractive vehicles.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            um, Porsche Macan, Audi SQ3, you may not like them, but you just peeked in my fantasy garage

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            Isn’t the Macan more on Par with the Q5? I am sure its a size up over the Encore. Agreed thought its a looker.

            The Q3 is also not bad, it seems to keep the sleeker elements of the its larger siblings, eschewing the cartoonish bloat so prevalent in this segment.

            The Q3 just goes to show that B-CUVs dont HAVE to be ugly… they just often are, in the mainstream models.

            Sales numbers matter too. I see a lot more derpy Trax then I do Q3s on the road.

            Last thought: I like the HRV.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            The segment can be kind of vague, the Macan being the smallest Porsche CUV and is the same size as the BMW X1 kind of puts it there. So you like the Q3 and HRV? Since that’s about a quarter of the segment it seems you might actually like them

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Is the Q3 B-segment? I thought it’s built on the same platform as the Tiguan and previous Golf (up to Mk6) and Jetta (up to Mk5 in US). The Q5 is on the MLB platform with the Macan and A4-A8.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    With gas at $1.92 here in Indiana, they may want to switch efforts to reinstating the Excursion…

  • avatar
    z1rider

    Ford is profit driven just like all the other car companies. What we out here in the blogosphere don’t have access to is the cost accounting information the manufacturers use. If Ford was sure there was big profits to be made with Rangers and Ecosports they would sell them here. I’m thinking they are not so sure about profits or are SURE they would lose money. Don’t forget the chicken tax for imported small trucks. Several automotive commentors think the Chevy Colorado will steal sales (and higher profit margins) from Chevy’s full size trucks. Can anyone commenting here GUARANTEE that will not happen? Didn’t think so.

  • avatar
    davefromcalgary

    I hate this segment. Its really hard to make something look good with those proportions.

    Edited to add “In my opinion” before peteziess tears me a new one.

  • avatar

    I’m going to counter this thread with my suggestion of three words – Diesel Expedition EL.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      I fully expect a hybrid or diesel Expedition/Navigator at some point. I don’t expect it on the current version though.

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        This was killed off in 2007. Considering the Expo and Navigator will be have Al BIW for the next gen, Diesel would only help purvey the CAFE goal. The question will be just how capable (or incapable) will the 1/4 ton diesels be? How close will they cut it to the superduty platform?

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Raj Nair seems to like the hybrid route more than the diesel. Last year, I was hearing diesel was happening and the hybrid wasn’t, but this year everything flip flopped. I’d like a hybrid Expedition provided that it could tow near where it does now.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          They dropped the “small v8 diesel” back then but now they have the 5cyl certified for use in the Transit and I’m betting it wouldn’t take too much to put it in the F150/Expedition. It does seem more likely that they will offer a hybrid first since it should give a better mpg improvement per retail dollar. On the other hand since the 5cy diesel is certified it should cost less to put it into production.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Well they have been working on a Hybrid F150 for awhile now so I can certainly see that showing up in the Expegator shortly after the F150. They have a diesel but at this point they are still saying not likely for the F150 but if they do put it in the F150 then again it will likely show up in the Expegator shortly there after.

  • avatar
    tresmonos

    Great editorial, Derek. Your understanding of the industry on a macro level is evident.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      I understand and appreciate everything Derek is saying to be true, so then we have to take Ford to task for being short-sighted by not planning the Ecosport in accordance with it’s own “One Ford” philosophy, thus being caught with it’s knickers around it’s knees

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        One Ford doesn’t mean everyone gets the same thing. However, since the EcoSport has been a Ford product since 2004MY, and it was designed in Dearborn, they could have beat GM to market with a 2012 launch of the 2nd generation in the US.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          I took “One Ford” to mean that all future platforms would be “world-centric” in that anything built on such a platform could be used anyplace in the world with little modification. It’s been said that the 2nd gen Ecosport was designed for the “3rd world” which is contrary to the “One Ford” dogma. I think Ford f**ked-up and it will cost them

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            The EcoSport is built on a world platform. We get something that is on that platform: the Fiesta. The One Ford plan is supposed to allow for regional products. The Escort and Edge are good examples (the next Edge will supposedly be sold in Europe).

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Ok, then why would it be so difficult, as it’s been suggested, to adapt the EcoSport to the North American market? GM and FCA seem to have had little or no problem with the transition with their offerings, what did Ford do wrong?

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            The biggest problem the EcoSport faces is the same problem the Ranger faces: does Ford beleive that a smaller, less profitable, vehicle will eat into the volume of it’s bread and butter vehicle?

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Well, while Ford is contemplating their naval their customers who may want such vehicles will be visiting their competition’s showrooms, perhaps never to return again

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Ford didn’t loose much (if anything) with killing the Ranger so why would this segment be any different?

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            It isn’t. After hashing this out all day yesterday I’ve decided that it doesn’t matter, when it comes to buying my next vehicle whoever has what I’m looking for gets my money

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Lou_BC, Ford did lose a few sales when they discontinued the Ranger in the US.

            Not every Ford Ranger fan switched to a 3.7 n/a V6 F150 as Alan Mulally had hoped they would.

            Some of them switched to (gasp) a Tacoma! Others, (wrrrretch) a Frontier. I know one lady who traded her Ranger for a (eeeeewwww!) Ridgeline, and actually likes the Ridgeline better than her Ranger.

            At some point it became not economically feasible to keep the Ranger running for each of them.

            Others, who still drive a Ranger today have so much money tied up in them to keep them running, they can’t afford to retire them.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            HighDesertcat – people delude themselves thinking products are built for them or their demographic. Vehicles are built to make money and the better companies know where to focus. The unhappy or excluded minority can jump ship to another brand or find something close in the company fold.
            At the end of the day chasing those kinds of consumers are a complete waste of resources.

    • 0 avatar
      jhefner

      I don’t think the issue is that it would be too difficult, but not worth the cost to bring it up to North American standards only to be a poor seller that takes away sales from the more profitable Fusion and Escape.

      Just as the F-150 is not well suited to some BRIC nations at one end, the EcoSport is not well suited to North America at the other. Ford’s world car experience goes back to the Model T, but not every “world car” works in every market. The Mondeo, which is a good car in Europe, was brought over here as the heavily redesigned Contour/Mystique; was a poor seller here because it came across as a cramped Taurus/Sable.

  • avatar
    jdmcomp

    This would be the same Ford that tells us one car for all and all cars for everybody, except for what we do not want to share. It has been the great lie that Ford has a global thought process when it comes to selling cars, they sell what they want where they want. The Ka is a twin to the Fiat 500 but Ford does not sell it here, nor the two door Fiesta, nor the estate versions of the Focus and on and on and on. Economics will determine what Ford sells here no matter how much BS they shout out.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      One Ford doesn’t mean Ford will sell the F150 in Japan and the Ka in Texas. It means that instead of using different platforms around the world like the US Focus vs Euro Focus and Fusion vs Mondeo, platforms will mostly be global. Regional variation will exist no matter what.

      One Ford doesn’t mean, “Let’s sell the same stuff everywhere regardless if it’s profitable or not.”

    • 0 avatar
      jhefner

      Ford also does not sell the F-150 in Europe or BRIC countries either. Ford is not stupid, they are not going to sell every car everywhere just because they can, or in blind allengence to a “One Ford” philosophy. There is sanity to their “One Ford” policy, and that includes market forces and economics. The Ka, Fiesta two door and Focus estate are perfect examples of cars that do not make sense to be brought here; the Fiat 500 itself isn’t exactly lighting up sales charts either; unlike the heavy iron at the other end of the Chrysler spectrum.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        You guys are missing the point on what’s in demand and what isn’t. A Ka in Texas or an an F-150 in Paris makes no sense because nobody wants them there, but B-Segment CUV or mid-size truck demand in Ford’s backyard that goes ignored may turn out to be embarrassing

        • 0 avatar
          jhefner

          Lie2me, I will say you are right when the Colorado/Canyon start digging into full size truck sales, and the Fiat 500 (basically the same car as the Ka) lights up the sales chart. Until then, you are making much ado about nothing; like it was mentioned in another recent article, is it really neccessary for all car makers to compete in all segments just to rob sales from the competition? Or should they focus on improving sales of their core products, and leave the others to feed around the edges with nitch products like a subcompact car or SUV and a compact truck?

          And seriously, do you really think these will sell enough to embarrass a company selling F-150s, Escapes, Fusions and Mustangs in the numbers like Ford is? Methinks you are hoping or dreaming.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            Everyone is still waiting for the 500 to light up the sales charts. Once the initial cuteness wore off it has been selling in mediocre numbers. So far the Canrado isn’t lighting up the sales charts either. With gas in the $2 range I don’t expect it to either.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I don’t have the energy to heap venom on what boils down to be a pretty worthless vehicle class which fails at both being an “Utility Vehicle” and is barely an effective hatchback. But I find this interesting:

    “This may suffice in the BRIC countries and other markets where displacement-based taxation make big engines a burden”

    I seem to recall Carlos Ghosn saying something to the effect of in order to bring cost effective transportation to the third world he felt they had to “go electric” so to speak. Since we know the man is pretty brilliant, he must have seen this stupid tax trend spreading in the “developing” countries and perhaps his electric Nissans will not be subject to the restrictions being “green” and all.

  • avatar
    50merc

    The first generation had an attractive, boxy, “utility” look. This second generation has undergone a tortured restyle to emulate a Transformer.

  • avatar
    Sigivald

    Fusion Wagon.

    Too bad it won’t happen.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    Didn’t Cain post the sales numbers for this segment a little while ago that showed the total market didn’t add up to that many sales? So why would Ford want to try for a slice of such a small pie? Seems like a money looser to me particularly with gas prices predicted to stay low for the next few years.

    • 0 avatar
      jhefner

      This; when the B-CUV and small pickup sector really take off, THEN Lie2me can lambast Ford for not bring products to this market; until then, it is nothing but a backwater compared to the remainder of the SUV/CUV, pickup, and full size car market. Meanwhile, Lie2me and others have nothing but Internet hype to base their angst on.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      What, the compact CUV market didn’t exist until a couple of years ago and it’s growing faster then any other “new” segment. There wasn’t a car market until Ford figured out how to build them cheap in the early 1900s, then suddenly everybody wanted one.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        The compact CUV has existed for over a decade and what made it take off was $4 gallon gasoline which is gone for the near future so don’t expect subcompact CUV sales to take off until we see $5 gal gas.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Ford should not enter this market because it might cut sales to their more profitable F-150. Ford should cut the Escape, Escort, C-Max, Fusion, Taurus, Edge, and Fiesta as well because those buyers could trade up to an F-150.

    • 0 avatar
      Banger

      This. A million times this.

      If I can’t have my T6 Ranger because Ford feels compelled to protect the cash cow, then by golly, let’s start expanding that mentality to a bunch more popular models in the lineup. “One Ford,” after all.

    • 0 avatar
      jhefner

      This is obviously swinging to the other side from taking “One Ford” literally and implementing all products worldwide to the other side of only keeping the best money making model in each market because others might rob sales from it. It should be clearly obvious that Ford is taking a more realistic middle approach than either and selling those products which it thinks sells best in each market. Those on the Internet who think they are smarter than Ford can debate it all you want.

  • avatar
    Magnusmaster

    It seems Ford didn’t think the CUV fad would spread to the first world. The Ecosport was designed for the third world and only released in Europe so they could call it a global car. Maybe with the next generation they might release the Ecosport in the USA, but we are talking about years here.

  • avatar
    George B

    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.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      It’s price pure and simple. The Escape is a great car (I have had two) , but it’s now realistically a $32K CUV. Ford dose not have a sub-$30K CUV.

      GM- Encore, Trax: Loaded out the door = sub-$30K

      FCA- Renegade: Loaded out the door = sub-$30K

      Ford- Zero

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        You are right it is price pure and simple, Ford has stated many times that they are looking for profits and that they are not willing to chase sales and market share at the expense of profits. So that means that if there is not a good business case to bring a particular product to a particular market they will not bother. There is no reason to have a product in every segment and particularly if the sales in that segment are small or if the prices in that segment will not support decent profit margins.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          Scoutdude – correct.

          Ford executives have clearly stated that they will focus on the 20% that makes 80% of the profits.

          Why spend money on a vehicle that will eat into vehicle profits that already overlap in that market?

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            This is exactly what naysayers said when Ford came out with the Edge and slotted it between the Escape and the Explorer. They claimed the Edge would do nothing but steal sales from the other two. They were wrong, sales of all three have been excellent. Going by Ford’s own successes they should see no issue in slotting another CUV below the Escape

  • avatar
    dolorean

    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.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      We have the C-Max, but only as a hybrid.

      Ford already has trouble selling the Fiesta or C-Max in the US, so why would they try the B-Max?

      The reason why we aren’t going to get those other people carriers, including the Galaxy, is because of Escape, Edge, Explorer, Flex. I would buy an S-Max, but what would it cost? $40K for the diesel version? Well, Ford has the Explorer Sport/Titanium and the Flex Ecoboost for that same price, they do the same thing, and they have 355 HP with AWD.

      Try selling a 2.2L diesel S-Max next to a cheaper Explorer Sport. Americans won’t buy it, and they shouldn’t. Maybe we’ll see the S-Max or Galaxy once the Explorer moves to a RWD platform and the Flex dies. I’m not optimistic about it though.

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