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.
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.
Once the Fiesta drains from North American Ford lots following its May 2019 discontinuation, it’s up to the company’s subcompact EcoSport crossover to draw entry-level buyers into the Blue Oval fold.
Imported from India, the second-generation EcoSport, which first arrived on these shores at the dawn of 2018, kicked off for the 2013 model year overseas, making the EcoSport anything but all-new. Luckily, there’s a replacement in the works.
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.
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.
Ford announced a minor recall for the 2018 EcoSport involving brake fluid reservoir caps and user manuals. While these are technically “faulty” components, they weren’t broken or incorrectly manufactured. They were, brace yourself, European.
The automaker says it isn’t aware of any accidents or injuries relating to the parts — and we would be completely astonished if it had. But the recall is going through anyway because Euro-spec components on an American vehicle is the ultimate taboo for regulators. Parts intended for foreign markets on domestic cars is a sick-and-twisted automotive fetish best left to Anglophiles and JDM enthusiasts.
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.
March 2018 U.S. Auto Sales: Ford EcoSport Still Climbing, but so Are Other Mainstream Subcompact Crossovers
The Ford EcoSport, a new (to North America) subcompact crossover hastily inserted at the bottom of the Blue Oval’s lineup, went on sale in January of this year. No TTACer who sat in the vehicle at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit walked away impressed, and it was odd to see a new model introduction go without the obligatory first drive event.
Still, the vehicle, which starts at a hair under 20 grand and carries a 1.0-liter three-cylinder as a base powerplant, isn’t being ignored by the buying public. March EcoSport sales in the U.S. topped that of the well-regarded — but not especially capacious — Mazda CX-3. Still, as all things truck continue to garner ever greater market share in the U.S., the little Ford faces a difficult upward climb.
Ford has finally brought its subcompact crossover to the United States. The 2018 Ford EcoSport, pronounced “EchoSport” for some reason, is hitting dealer lots as I type. Available in other markets since 2012, the recently refreshed second-generation EcoSport arrives on our shores to take on segment favorites like the Mazda CX-3 and Buick Encore.
The world seems to love mini crossovers. Ford is late to the party here, but the Blue Oval crowd are trying to make up ground with a class leading vehicle the best they could do on a budget. We have not driven the EcoSport, but we have sat in it. If anyone asks, we did not break any trim pieces. After sitting in the EcoSport, opening its doors, touching its Cozy Coupe-grade plastics, using its inconvenient rear hatch, and not being able fit my feet into the back seat, it is obvious that it is not good. No road test will change that.
But here we are, and Ford needs to offer a product in this segment. Engineering a vehicle for Third World markets while GM brought the upscale-branded Buick Encore to the U.S. proved to be a misstep. Now Ford has to poach buyers, make bold moves, and go further. We all know what that means: a marketing campaign!
According to Ford, the EcoSport is here to hack your life.
To put it mildly, the TTAC crew has been less than enthusiastic about the 2018 Ford EcoSport ever since Ford Motor Company announced the overseas subcompact crossover would come to America, filling a gap at the bottom of Ford’s utility lineup. Having not driven one, we’ll hold off on any assumptions about the model’s abilities or quality.
But it’s interesting to note, as EcoSports arrive on dealer lots across the U.S., that Ford’s giving the model a helping hand right out of the gate.
For the 2018 model year, your local Blue Oval dealer will sell you an India-built Ford EcoSport Titanium AWD, with a handful of options, for $29,960.
Yes, that’s an uncomfortable MSRP for the funny-looking, tippy-toe-styled EcoSport, which Ford likes to pronounce echo-sport as if it’s a particularly athletic Toyota subcompact sedan circa 2003. But the entry point for Ford’s new entry-level crossover is much, much lower. At $20,990 including delivery — a 16-percent discount compared with the Ford Escape S — a 2018 Ford EcoSport sends power from its 1.0-liter turbo triple to the front wheels through a standard six-speed automatic transmission.
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- Inside Looking Out For midsize sedan it is too small. It basically is a compact car.
- Stodge I test drove the 200S and damn, its suspension was so firm, I was convinced it didn't actually include suspension at all. It hurt my spine and hip, it was that firm.
- MRF 95 T-Bird If Mopar had only offered sport hatch versions of the 200 and or Dart they might have sold more of them for folks who wanted some more versatility without having to go for a small utility Compass Patriot or new at the time Renegade or Cherokee.
- El scotto I started driving in the late 70's. The cars high school kids could afford and wanted were very very worn out muscle cars. Oh Lordy those V-8's bring back some happy memories. Oh there some outliers in my crowd, a VW Bug and a Dodge Scamp with slant six; neither car would die. In 10 years their will be young people wanting very used Teslas or Dodge's with hemis. B&B, I say that if someone is excited about their EV, Hybrid, or Hemi welcome them to the club of people who like cars.
- El scotto Farley and Billy Ford need to put on some jeans, flannel shirts and PPE. They should (but never will) walk the factory floors and ask "what is wrong?", "what could we be doing better?"Let me caveat that. Let Jimmy and Billy explain that any constructive criticisms will be non-attributable. Oh they can use platitude like making the house level again or setting the ship on the right course.Sadly I suspect than many, many Power Points will die in vain in the executive suites in Dearborn. At least three if not four very expensive consulting teams will be hired to review Ford's QC problems. Four consulting teams will mean four different solutions. None them will be put in action. Ford will still have huge QC problems.