Ford was due to launch its B-segment SUV, the EcoSport at the end of 2013 across Europe. However, it has decided to put off the launch until 2014 and instead launch a limited number of 500 units across Europe during the first quarter of 2014. 120 of the 500 limited edition models are bound to the UK. Ford managed to create a buzz by launching the EcoSport on facebook for its customer base in Europe. The order log of 500 units was sold out in under 48 hours. This is Ford’s strategy of appealing to the youth and depicts the tremendous demand for this B-segment SUV even in a matured market like Europe.
The Ford EcoSport will be exported to the UK and Europe from India both in left-hand and right-hand drive configurations. The decision to delay the launch of the EcoSport across Europe is mainly due to the already existing heavy backlog across existing markets. The company already exports the EcoSport to countries like South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, Mexico and Nepal from India. Given the amount of cars already being exported from Ford’s Chennai plant, it only appeared practical that Ford put off its plan to launch the SUV in the European markets in 2013.
The export models are bound to consist of three engine options including the 122 BHP 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine, the 110 BHP 1.5-litre Ti-VCT petrol engine and the 90 BHP 1.5-litre DuraTorq engine. The vehicle is currently being built in Brazil, China, India and Russia. Production is also expected to commence soon in Thailand which eases out the EcoSport’s availability across Europe positively from 2014. However Ford Europe is not looking at big volumes from the EcoSport as buyers have an array of choices in the crossover segment.
The Ford EcoSport rivals the Renault Duster in India, while also luring buyers from different segments, including hatchbacks and sedans. In the European market, the EcoSport will continue to rival the Renault Duster, just like it does in Brazil. Currently the EcoSport has emerged on top in this battle but the upcoming facelift to the Duster will help Renault pull back volumes.
- Sankranth Gubbi