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 [s]Hall and Oates lyrics[/s] 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?
I [s]complain[/s] 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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