Russians Find the Ford EcoSport Overpriced: Report

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

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]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

More by Steph Willems

Join the conversation
9 of 40 comments
  • 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.

  • Lou_BC Ironic, the Honda Ridgeline, a truck that every truck guy loves to hate is in 6th place.
  • 28-Cars-Later I keep forgetting I own it, but the space look on the ext cab reminds me of my 'Yota pickup of the same model year. I'm pretty sure there is some vintage of Hilux which features the same looking ext cab window (maybe '88?) its a shame these things are mostly gone and when available are $1,000,000,000 [INSERT CURRENT CURRENCY].
  • Sayahh Imagine if Ford had Toyota design and build a Mustang engine. It will last over 300k miles! (Skip turbo and make it naturally aspirated.) Maybe Yamaha will help tune it...
  • Sobhuza Trooper Isuzu's crime was to build some damn good trucks.Shame on them.
  • El scotto Listen, unless you were Lord Headly-Stempmoor or such when you got off the off the boat, boot in Canada, you got the short end of the stick. People got on the boat, these days a plane, to escape famine, becoming cannon fodder in yet another stupid war, or the government thought it was A-OK to let soldiers kill you. Juneteenth is just a way to right one of the more bad ideas in the American experiment. Instead we have commenters who were buying tater chips and diet soda at Wal-Mart and got all butt-hurt because they heard someone who wasn't speaking English. I'm going to go fix a couple of frankfurters with salsa and guacamole and wash them down with a lager or three