Ford appears to be pulling out of India, with the automaker confirming plans to end production there by next year. While a sizable automotive market — fifth just behind Japan, with about 2.5 million sales annually — the region never felt like a good fit for Blue Oval. Ford’s cash cows have long been upsized SUVs and pickup trucks, whereas India has an obvious penchant for small automobiles prioritizing value above all else. This left the automaker with a paltry market share estimated below two percent and likely explains why it’s no longer interested in manufacturing vehicles there.
In Thursday’s announcement, the company confessed to having accumulated operating losses of more than $2 billion over the last decade — hence the need for restructuring. But it won’t be cutting ties with India entirely, as it wants the region to handle Ford Business Solutions and help with customer support services via the relevant information centers.
In a matter of days, we’ll have a first drive review of the Hyundai Venue for you to peruse. That tiny vehicle’s introduction to the crossover market pertains to this story, as it’s yet another small, cargo-happy vehicle the Ford EcoSport — a vehicle that was aging even before its arrival on these shores — must face in 2020.
As one can expected from a new model-year vehicle, the EcoSport saw a price increase for 2020, but just as suddenly, it didn’t.
Lovers of low-rent vehicles bemoaned Ford’s decision to cull its small-car herd, shedding tears at the loss of the Fiesta and Focus, and no doubt choking back a few sobs at the impending loss of the midsize Fusion sedan. Finding a five-passenger vehicle priced below $20,000 is rapidly becoming a thing of the past, they cried.
Indeed, the supply of low-cost cars is shrinking, though Nissan seems to tuned in to the laments of penny-pinching shoppers. Over at Ford, the discontinuation of the Fiesta and Focus means the three-cylinder, front-drive EcoSport S — a subcompact Indian import we’ve, um, mentioned on this website in the past — is the only Blue Oval ride with an MSRP south of $20k, though adding a destination charge pole-vaults it over that threshold.
Before incentives, that is.
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.
On Monday, Matthew Guy asked all of you to nominate vehicles that were ahead of their time. Those rare occasions where vehicles anticipated the desires of consumers, even before said desires were fully formed. Today, we flip it around and talk about
Hall and Oates lyrics vehicles which were out of touch or behind the times, even when new.
Ford’s 2018 introduction of the EcoSport is one of the most cynical attempts to quickly capture sales in a suddenly hot category in the long history of automakers trying to do just that..
Challenged to quickly find a way into the fast-growing subcompact crossover class, Ford simply moved the EcoSport – already available in other markets – to the North American market. While that move looks logical on paper, it ignores the reality that the product just isn’t very good.
If the Ford EcoSport was Elon Musk, there’d be a special online site created to champion the tarring and feathering of the writers at this publication. While we’re in agreement that the subcompact crossover space is a much-needed segment for Ford, especially given its plan to ditch conventional passenger cars, we question the automaker’s decision to bring the EcoSport here.
One of our readers wasn’t too thrilled with his experience behind the wheel, but we’ll all reserve final judgement until after we spend a week in one. There’s further reviews on the way. (Maybe it’ll hack our lives and our emotions.)
Having said that, the EcoSport, which saw its first ever U.S. deliveries in January, sees its monthly sales continue to climb. Much to the chagrin of a certain PEI resident, it seems Americans have taken to the thing.
Unless you’re living on Mars, you’ve heard that Ford Motor Company has officially thrown in the towel on the sedan business. It’s a shocking move, but not necessarily a disappointing one, given that the basic versions of those sedans weren’t all that great to begin with. But the performance versions of those sedans are special. If you need a practical, affordable car with a talent for separating you from your driver’s license, Ford has (or had) one for every budget, and that makes it a unique automaker.
But that’s the Old Ford. Apparently, New Ford is all about crossovers, and its newest offering in these parts is the already-sold-overseas Ecosport. Does the EcoSport provide a crystal-ball look into Ford’s future crossovers? For the company’s sake, I hope not.
Ford is a bit late to the micro SUV party, with trucklets like the Kia Soul and Chevrolet Trax hoovering up sales while the Blue Oval dawdles in getting its EcoSport to market. Finally, it appears for the 2018 model year.
By the way, even if there seems to be a couple of ways to pronounce the name of this little rig, Ford vigorously prefers we say “Echo-Sport” and not “Eek-Oh-Sport.” The company’s completely serious, despite beating us over the head for years with ads for the identically-prefixed “Eek-Oh-Boost” engines. Very good, then.
With the build-and-price tool for the EcoSport going live not long ago, let’s gander at the cheapest soft-roader in Ford’s showroom.
My long-standing personal vendetta against DLO FAIL — an internet-slang definition of black plastic “ cheater panels” — takes center stage in this episode of Detroit Auto Show coverage.
Consider this: if manufacturing and design teams cannot decide on the same roof, if they cheat to make it right, did they design something worthy of the auto show lights?
complain report, you make the final decision!
Ford’s a little late to the subcompact crossover party, so it’s making a lot of noise to make up for it. The company hosted a highly publicized live Snapchat unveiling for the EcoSport last night, complete with DJ Khaled chanting the vehicle’s name while gesturing at it and dancing around.
From a global perspective, it’s technically not a new car. However, it will be new for North America, and serves to fill an important gap in the company’s lineup. With subcompact crossover sales increasing 30 percent this year, Ford needed to throw something into this crowded segment.
Hyundai is looking to jump into the subcompact crossover fold in the States with the Nissan Juke, Honda HR-V, Chevrolet Trax and everyone else, but it won’t be with the Creta, Edmunds is reporting.
The Creta recently went on sale in India, but executives in America told Edmunds that it wasn’t the right fit for U.S. buyers.
“We have decided to wait a little bit longer to get the right vehicle,” said Dave Zuchowski, president and CEO of Hyundai Motor America.
In the good old days, when things were how they were supposed to, the first world got new cars first, and the third world got them three generations later. This time-tested principle is being set on its head. It started as an ugly trend in Japan, where Japanese received their new Latio ages after people in China or Thailand had already wrecked it. Subaru did a similar stunt with the XV. Now this disease is spreading to Europe, and the carrier is the Ford EcoSport.
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- Carsofchaos Bike lanes are in use what maybe 10 to 12 hours a day? The other periods of the day they aren't in use whatsoever. A bike can carry one person and a vehicle can carry multiple people. It's very simple math to figure out that a bike lane in no way shape or form will handle more people than cars will.The bigger issue is double parked delivery vehicles. They are often double parked and taking up lanes because there are cars parked on the curb. You combine that with a bike lane and pedestrians Crossing wherever they feel like it and it's a recipe for disaster. I think if we could just go back to two lanes of traffic things would flow much better. I started coming to the city in 2003 before a lot of these bike lanes were implemented and the traffic is definitely much worse now than it was back then. Sadly at this point I don't really think there is a solution but I can guarantee that congestion pricing will not fix this problem.
- Charles When I lived in Los Angeles I saw a 9-5 a few times and instanly admired the sweeping low slug aerodynamic jet tech influenced lines and all that beautiful glass. The car was very different from what I expected from a Saab even though the 900 Turbo was nice. A casual lady friend had a Saab Sonnet, never drove or rode in it but nonetheless chilled my enthusiasm and I eventually forgot about Saabs. In the following years I have had seven Mercedes's, three or four Jaguars even two Daimlers both the 250 V-8 and the massive and powerful Majestic Major. Daily drivers of a brand new 300ZX 2+2 and Lincolns, plus a few diesel trucks. Having moved to my big farm in central New York, trucks and SUV's are the standard, even though I have a Mercedes S500 in one of my barns. Due to circumstances with my Ford Explorer and needing a second driver I found the 2006 9-5 locally. Very little surface rust, none undercarriage, original owner, garage kept, wife driver and all the original literature and a ton of paid receipts and history. The car just turned 200,000 miles and I love it. Feels new like I'm back in my Nissan 300ZX with a lot more European class and ready power with the awesome turbo. So fun to drive, the smooth power and torque is incredible! Great price paid to justify going through the car and giving her everything she needs, i.e., new tires, battery, all shocks, struts, control arms, timing chain and rust removable to come, plus more. The problem now is I want to restore it and likely put it in my concrete barn and only drive in good weather. As to the writer, Alex Dykes, I take great exception calling the 9-5 Saab "ugly," finding myself looking back at her beauty and uniqueness. Moreover, I get new looks from others not quite recognizing, like the days out west with my more expensive European cars. There are Saabs eclipsing 300K rourinely and one at a million miles and I believe one car with 500K on the original engine. So clearly, this is a keeper, in love already with my SportCombi. I want to be in that elite club.
- Marky S. I own the same C.C. XSE Hybrid AWD as in this article, but in Barcelona Red with the black roof. I love my car for its size, packaging, and the fact that it offers both AWD and Hybrid technology together. Visibility is impressive, as is its small turning circle. I consider the C.C. more of a "station wagon" by proportion, rather than an “SUV.” It is fun to drive, with zippy response and perky pick-up. It is a pleasant car to drive and ride in. It is not trying to be a “Butch Off-Roader”, or a cosseting “Luxury Cruiser.” Those are not its goals or purpose. The Corolla Cross XSE Hybrid AWD is a wonderful All-Purpose Car (O.K. – “SUV” if you must hear me say it!) with a combination of all the features it has at a reasonable price.
- Ernesto Perez There's a line in the movie Armageddon where Bruce Willis says " is this the best idea NASA came up with?". Don't quote me. I'm asking is this the best idea NY came up with? What's next? Charging pedestrians to walk in certain parts of the city? Every year the price for everything gets more expensive and most of the services we pay for gets worse. Obviously more money is not the solution. What we need are better ideas, strategies and inventions. You want to charge drivers in the city - then put tolls on the free bridges like the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges. There's always a better way or product. It's just the idiots on top think they know best.
- Carsofchaos The bike lanes aren't even close to carrying "more than the car lanes replaced". You clearly don't drive in Midtown Manhattan on a daily like I do.