By on May 13, 2019

2018 Ford EcoSport

By 2020, India is projected to become the world’s third-largest auto market, and it’s a market Ford Motor Company wants to dominate. The past year revealed China can’t be counted on to fill financial sails forever.

With this in mind, Ford is reportedly planning a slew of new small crossovers, and could soon put a billion dollars behind the effort.

Ford’s Indian arm is the source of America’s EcoSport subcompact crossover, and there’s good news of late about that model’s future. No, it’s not going away. However, recent spy shots reveal a replacement that all shapely curves, sharply contrasting with the toaster-shaped appliance currently serving as a CUV entry point to the increasingly carless brand.

The upcoming cash dump outlined in a Monday report in India’s Economic Times probably doesn’t target the EcoSport, not if there’s already prototypes driving around. It does, however, hint at the creation of three CUVs for the Indian and other overseas markets, each with a specific rival in its sights. The billion dollars would flow into Ford’s India operations over the next five to seven years, sources claim, with half of the dough earmarked for Ford’s Mahindra tie-up.

Ford and the Indian-market domestic automaker announced a jointly-developed C-segment crossover earlier this year, part of a collaborative effort called Project Black. The other two CUVs are B-segment offerings, much like the EcoSport. Carrying the codemanes BX744 and BX745, the first of the two new models would target Indian buyers and arrive in 2021; the latter would roll out a year later, with markets like China, India, Brazil, and other developing markets in mind.

“Beyond independently penetrating the Indian market, Ford is looking at ways and means of participating in the global emerging market in tandem with Mahindra,” a source said. “A partial [joint venture] may not be ruled out… maybe one of the plants, but exiting is definitely out of question.”

As Western auto sales stagnate, Ford is busy slashing away at its various money-losing overseas operations. India appears promising, though. Ford sales in that country rose 12 percent in 2018, with Ford India President and Managing Director Anurag Mehrotra calling it a turnaround year for the brand.

As for the EcoSport, the next-generation model is said to remain on its Fiesta underpinnings, appearing as a 2021 model. The side-hinged rear hatch bites the dust, along with the dated design.

[Image: Ford]

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

20 Comments on “Ford Eyes India for Crossover Surge; Next EcoSport Doesn’t Look like a Turnoff...”


  • avatar
    Vulpine

    “Ford’s Indian arm is the source of America’s EcoSport subcompact crossover, and there’s good news of late about that model’s future. No, it’s not going away. However, recent spy shots reveal a replacement that all shapely curves, sharply contrasting with the toaster-shaped appliance currently serving as a CUV entry point to the increasingly carless brand.”
    — I believe it’s a mistake if they do; those “shapely curves” are going to make it into a far more generic egg on wheels when a unique identity is what they need. When nearly all of Ford’s cars and CUVs look like different versions of the Fusion, there’s really nothing to differentiate one Ford from another–with the limited exceptions of the Flex and the F-series.

  • avatar
    Steve203

    The rumor mill about Ford in India has been in overdrive lately. From Mahindra designing 5 different SUVs for Ford, including at least two on Mahindra platforms, to Ford selling a 51% interest in it’s Indian operations to Mahindra.

    Then add the fact that the best selling Ford in China has been the Territory, which is a rebadged Jiangling and Ford’s tieup with VW in Europe.

    Hackett made a comment wrt Europe that offers a hint: words to the effect that Ford will not withdraw from the market, but will offer “Ford branded” vehicles. “Ford branded” indicating not necessarily Ford designed and produced vehicles, but vehicles with a blue oval pasted on them. Considering Ford’s moves in India and China, badge engineering other people’s products for market segments that Ford doesn’t really care about, ie anything other than US-centric big SUVs and pickups, may be the Hackett grand plan.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      Very possible Steve. And if they’re not careful, it could backfire enormously on Ford as the brand at least tries to claim quality. If these Ford-branded Mahindras (or other brand/models) end up significantly better (or worse) than the average Ford, this could see buyers migrating over to the assembler’s brand instead of Ford’s.

      • 0 avatar
        Steve203

        ” this could see buyers migrating over to the assembler’s brand instead of Ford’s.”

        Maybe that is all part of the Hackett plan: a gradual way to unwind sizeable operations without admitting failure. Ford Motor Company becomes Ford Marketing Company with little to no physical assets as everything is a rebadged version of someone else’s product. Then turn out the lights in the marketing office, and the loss making operations are gone.

        Ford has announced that the next gen Chinese market Escort sedan will be entirely designed by their JV partner Changan.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        this from the guy who claims Bob Lutz is responsible for GM’s bankruptcy.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          @JimZ: I said Lutz is ONE OF those people responsible; no one CEO through the two decades before GM’s bankruptcy is individually responsible, they were all responsible as each added more damage to the previous one’s mistakes. And Mary Barra isn’t doing a whole lot better.

          • 0 avatar
            Steve203

            “And Mary Barra isn’t doing a whole lot better.”

            Barra has spent her entire working life in the GM echo chamber. She can’t think differently. If she had thought differently, she never would have made it to the top of the company, because the only people who advance are the ones that reflect the thinking of the management that advances them.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @Steve203: My point exactly. GM needs serious outside thought because they’re essentially dying as a corporate brand.

          • 0 avatar
            Steve203

            “@Steve203: My point exactly. GM needs serious outside thought because they’re essentially dying as a corporate brand.’

            The problem is that, even when a company goes outside for new honchos, they tend to hire people who’s mind set mirrors that of the existing honchos.

            I worked for Radio Shack in the 80s, when it was a big, successful, company. When the competitive environment changed with the advent of chains like Best Buy, RS management didn’t see their pricing being 30-40% higher than Best Buy’s as a problem. As sales fell, the company did go outside for a new CEO, several times, but they apparently hired people who thought the same as the people they just fired as their policies and business model never changed to meet the new reality, and they went bankrupt.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Doesn’t help that Tandy Leather sold off Radio Shack, either. Tandy’s still alive. Radio Shack started out as a DIY electronics shop with some house-branded products and gradually shifted over to an electronics retailer with some few DIY products remaining.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Get rid of that spare tire hanging off the back. It’s not a Jeep.

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      But it makes every day feel like a vacation at a third-world resort.

    • 0 avatar
      Steve203

      “Get rid of that spare tire hanging off the back. It’s not a Jeep.”

      Already done. According to the Ford US site, the external spare was an option on low trim 2018s, but not available at all on 2019s. Thing is, there is no place inside the car to put a spare, so, if you bend a wheel or tear a sidewall on a pothole, you are SOL, because you don’t have a spare tire.

    • 0 avatar
      scott25

      The external spare is literally the only cool feature of the Ecosport

    • 0 avatar
      civicjohn

      …yes, because all of the lucky Jeep owners I see changing a tire on the side of the road every day deserve some respect.

      Don’t be a hater, you should have sold some of your TSLA shares and joined the Hackett party at $8/ share.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      If it was made by Mahindra, it could well have some original Willys DNA in it.

      • 0 avatar
        Steve203

        I don’t understand the pushback against the spare on the tailgate. The first gen CR-V and RAV4 both had gate mounted spares, and I have seem some Land Rover SUVs with that set up. It makes a lot of sense, with the side hinged gate. But since Ford has dropped that option for 19, it’s a moot point anyway.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • Inside Looking Out: LOL
  • Inside Looking Out: Is Sir Richard Branson planning to launch it into interplanetary space to join Tesla Roadster in...
  • Inside Looking Out: Is Sir Richard Branson planning to launch it into interplanetary space to join Tesla Roadster in...
  • Inside Looking Out: Do not worry, you will get high quality Chinese made C-class instead (or knock off under Chinese...
  • ar_ken: DubVBenz beat me to it… My wife’s 2015 (first year) C Class has been less than stellar in terms of...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributors

  • Timothy Cain, Canada
  • Matthew Guy, Canada
  • Ronnie Schreiber, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States
  • Mark Baruth, United States
  • Moderators

  • Adam Tonge, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States