By on December 11, 2018

2018 Ford EcoSport - Image: Ford

Russia, a large country covered mostly in taiga forest and tundra, still loves the Lada 4×4 (née Niva) four decades after its launch, but Ford’s EcoSport isn’t getting the same kind of affection four years after its launch.

Ford’s EcoSport, which burst onto the North American subcompact crossover scene at the beginning of the year, began production at a joint facility in Russia in 2014 but, as that country’s car buying climbs in the wake of a recession, buyers aren’t springing for the EcoSport like they once were. Ford’s throttling back production while claiming regular downtime. Critics blame the model’s price, as well as its diminutive size.

Surely no such critics exist on this side of the Atlantic.

According to Wards Auto, production of the EcoSport and Fiesta has shut down at a plant Ford operates with Russian automaker Sollers, with assembly starting back up early in the new year.

Year to date, Russian auto sales are up 13.7 percent, while Ford’s sales rose 6.3 percent over the same 11 months. The EcoSport, however, did not see a corresponding increase in buyers. Quite the opposite. The model’s production volume sank from 7,007 in 2017 to 4,906 vehicles over the first 11 months of 2018.

Analysts at Autostat claim they know what the problem is. The EcoSport is “in the deadly competition zone, where the company failed to correctly build the price positioning of these cars,” they wrote.

2018 Ford Ecosport S - Image: Ford

Competing models are also larger, they added, meaning Ford will still have a problem on its hands once production resumes. If reducing the price isn’t feasible, the analysts suggest Ford discontinue the model.

So, what is hot in Russia? Lada, baby! In November, the automaker recorded a 20-percent market share on a year-to-date basis, with sales up 15.4 percent for the month and 16.4 percent for the year. If you’re not hip to the newly freshened Lada brand, the AVTOVAZ subsidiary (and Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance partner) has an XRAY crossover and Vesta SW Cross with which to tempt outdoorsy Russians, with the old 4×4 still in the catalogue for really rough-and-tumble types. Meanwhile, the slightly more butch Lada XRAY Cross just debuted. Think of it as the XRAY Cossack Edition (this quip might only be decipherable to Canadians).

We don’t have access to Ladas here, but Ford would be more than happy to tempt you with a base, three-cylinder, front-drive EcoSport S for $19,995, before destination fee. The model tops out at the $26,880 (sans destination) for the 2.0-liter SES trim.

While this author feels the EcoSport cannot, and should not, become the brand’s entry point once the Fiesta, Focus, and Fusion dry up, Americans are still buying them. Ford sold 5,893 EcoSports in the U.S. in November (its second-best selling month to date), at an average selling price of who knows. There’s new competition, however, in the form of the cheaper, front-drive-only Nissan Kicks, which, at a starting price of $17,990, appears to actually be a CUV capable of serving as an entry point to a brand. Nissan sold 4,032 Kicks in November, its best month to date.

[Images: Ford Motor Company]

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40 Comments on “Russians Find the Ford EcoSport Overpriced: Report...”


  • avatar
    jatz

    Isn’t she lovely?!

    And her only competition in the segment for height and ground clearance (US, anyway) is from the Trailhawk Renegade which is made by a groinky manufacturer.

  • avatar
    salmonmigration

    The money Ford saved by not developing a First-World CUV back in 2014 was far better spent on developing FordSocial.com and Ford Smart Mobility. Where would the company be today without its purchase of Ford Chariot?

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    How much is the appropriate amount of money to charge for a complete pile of garbage?

  • avatar
    mister steve

    In US, you drive cars. In Russia, cars drive YOU.

    (Apologies to Yakov Smirnoff)

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I’m surprised anyone in Russia is buying one.

    “We don’t have access to Ladas here, but Ford would be more than happy to tempt you with a base, three-cylinder, front-drive EcoSport S for $19,995, before destination fee. The model tops out at the $26,880 (sans destination) for the 2.0-liter SES trim.”

    Christ on a bike I payed 17,5 with dest for a brand-new-but-of-course-mediocre Auris. Who the frak is buying this garbage?

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      Yea. In Russia people love Expeditions and Explorers. They also love those Toyotas that we don’t have here but they really resemble 4Runner-based Lexus

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      Here what sells in Russia
      http://rusautonews.com/2018/07/12/top-25-best-selling-cars-in-the-first-half-of-2018-in-russia/

      Interestingly, Rav4/Cx5 ~5/4

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        The Hyundai Creta is the best selling subcompact CUV, and in the top 5 for sales overall. We had one as a rental, thoroughly mediocre and unpleasant by US standards, but for what people are looking for over there, it makes sense. Well tuned suspension for the bombed out roads around Biysk.

      • 0 avatar

        List looks pathetic – bunch of cheap subcompacts with 50K annual sales at best! It demonstrates how poor Russians still are. I guess they still buy nice cars used from Germany (like Mexicans do in US) because I cannot imagine Russians being content with pile of garbage (c)EBFlex which Kia Rio and all those Ladas are. They should know better than that.

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          It’s a fairly pragmatic approach for many people that would prefer the dependability of a new car with a warranty (especially considering how much faster cars wear out over there), and with the current economic situation it’s what they can afford. Back in the early-mid 2000s, it was C class sedans that were most popular (Ford Focus MK2, Mitsubishi Lancer, Toyota Corolla) but these days they’ve been downgraded to Kia Rios and Hyundai Solaris. But you’re right, many prefer cheaper and older but much nicer used imports from Germany and Japan (depending on which side of the Urals you find yourself).

        • 0 avatar

          This !
          Germany and Japan, home market, have one thing in common. They rigorously test cars on the road, and a few year old car has a harder time passing. The lightly used cars are then exported, and end up in the Caribbean and elsewhere for Japan (you can do some interesting JDM car spotting on the islands, of all places), or “go East” where western europe off loads lots of things. Used German cars all go east, so any new car maker is competing with used German cars…we took a trip to Czech and Hungary, and the fleet was the same german brands, but they were all the prior two generations mostly missing from the shiny new fleet on the Autobahn.
          I would also imagine that Ladas, while crude, are fixable and parts are easy. The Germans are also fixable (with unlimited time and less worry about emissions testing and such) and parts can be obtained. A new Ford won’t have an installed base of used parts in a scrap yard.

          Russian Joke. Man goes to buy refrigerator. It runs for a year and breaks. He goes back to store “You told me this is the better one and it only ran a year”…to which salesman says “They all run only a year, but this one is the easiest to fix”…..

        • 0 avatar
          slavuta

          I don’t think Russians can bring used cars anymore. They now have some requirements that cars made for other markets don’t meet

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            Yep slavuta is 100% correct. Stuff still gets brought in from Japan, Europe and USA, but through much more difficult channels and at much higher cost. The gravy days of pure profit for the car runners from Germany and Vladivostok and Manheim auctions in the US are over. What remains are the cars that were imported 10-15 years ago, and they inevitably age/rust/leave the roads at some point.

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      “Christ on a bike I payed 17,5 with dest for a brand-new-but-of-course-mediocre Auris. Who the frak is buying this garbage?”

      Toyota’s problem is they have informed customers. Blindly loyal customers who have six figure consumer debts saved for their retirements are much more lucrative.

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        I think, this is consumer reports zombified a lot of public with all the red circles. I don’t think one single auto company lies from their commercials better than Subaru

  • avatar

    Ford should be ashamed of themselves for offering this in North America. This developed for 3rd World vehicle is a complete embarrassment. Even more troubling is that over 5,000 people per month are dumb enough to buy this rolling turd. Never underestimate the stupidity of the American buying public.

    • 0 avatar
      jatz

      3rd world vehicle for 3rd world roads.

    • 0 avatar

      Which means, may be, that once proud America becomes a 3rd world country? At least in CA. Bunch of super rich kids and billionaires and the army of poor servants who cannot afford living there and join army of homeless desperate people given up “American dream” – the worst country in the world defeated by superior and kinder China – the new standard of the world in 21 century. At least that’s the impression I got reading answers on Quora.com – Americans, European, Chinese – all hate America.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    I’m not sure which confuses me more, Ford Eco Sport buyers or Chevy Trax buyers.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    I agree with the Russians, $20K is too much for a base Ecosport

  • avatar
    Steve203

    Fortunately, EcoSport sales in Europe have doubled since Ford moved Europe-bound production from India to that center of premium materials and craftsmanship, Romania, a year ago.

  • avatar
    gtem

    The issue here I think is driven by the highly unfavorable exchange rate (result of 2014 sanctions and divestiture). Domestically produced Russian stuff has been given a big boost, and only the cheapest and most utilitarian import cars are doing well, that and Land Cruisers and stuff at the high end for well off businessmen and crooked politicians. The current Explorer has been making a few inroads actually, and GM has been marketing the Tahoe with mixed success.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      How are gas prices there versus here?

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        About the same, on the order of $2.40/gallon, but incomes are much lower, so proportionally it is significantly more expensive. Even these basic low end economy cars are generally financed, with crazy interest rates. There is also a hp-based tax for cars over 250hp. It’s pretty rough over there for the average working family by our American standards.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    How does this stupid ugly third world turd sell 10 times as often as the beautiful Genesis G70? That makes no sense to me. Limited dealer network + availability?

    • 0 avatar
      jatz

      Maturity, well-ordered priorities and joint pain.

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      Hell, looking at direct competitors, how does this outsell the Hyundai Kona?

      • 0 avatar
        Superdessucke

        True, I don’t even understand that, and the Kona isn’t that great.

        I don’t see how this little third world clapbox’s ride is going to help anyone’s joint pain! It’ll just add more joint pain, plus some eye pain having to look at it.

        I have to wonder if this is going to become the modern-day version of the Cadillac Cimarron. A cynical attempt to bamboozle a market segment. I think Ford is going to have some serious problems in about 5 years.

        • 0 avatar
          TS020

          ” I think Ford is going to have some serious problems in about 5 years.”

          Especially considering how well received the aforementioned Kona has been. AFAIK the EV model is sold out for months

          • 0 avatar
            HotPotato

            Well sure, the Kona EV model offers something nobody else does: a Chevy Bolt for people who can’t handle the Bolt’s skinny-Korean front seats or Honda Fit styling. The base gasoline Kona, on the other hand, is at least as awful as any Trax or HR-V.

  • avatar

    Wow, the world seems to dislike this car.


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