Russians Find the Ford EcoSport Overpriced: Report

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
russians find the ford ecosport overpriced report

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.

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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  • Superdessucke Superdessucke on Dec 11, 2018

    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?

    • See 6 previous
    • HotPotato HotPotato on Dec 14, 2018

      @TS020 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.

  • Akear Akear on Dec 12, 2018

    Wow, the world seems to dislike this car.

  • Arthur Dailey Calling Frank Sheeran. Such a shame to see that car, which it appears was well maintained right to the end, being relegated to the crusher. Compared to what you get for $50k today, that Lincoln was not such a bad deal. As mentioned a phenomenal highway cruiser with some of the most comfortable seats every installed in a car.
  • ToolGuy Nice car. Does this company still make sedans?
  • Jimbo1126 I just looked at the Hyundai website and it appears the SE SR trim has gone away. The SE is now the base trim at $45,500.
  • Jimbo1126 Even my mother, certainly no big car fan, commented that the Mark Vi was the ugliest car she'd ever seen.38,391 in 1980 to 38,398 in 1981 is an increase of 7. :)
  • Kwik_Shift Important consideration when choosing your next vehicle. Its not only your own death, or of your passengers, but the possible lifetime of crippling injuries.