Aah, the Ford EcoSport, the vehicle which has been creating ripples in the Indian auto market ever since it was launched in June 2013. The EcoSport was launched at a highly aggressive price and loaded with features, then Ford hiked the prices significantly twice, then deleted few features and now the waiting period is just increasing. Ford has received a total of 60,000 bookings for the vehicle and currently only about 35,000 units have been delivered. Dealers have also stopped taking bookings for Automatic and Titanium petrol/diesel variants.
The Ford EcoSport is being manufactured in two shifts. Each shift is capable of assembling 350 cars and the automaker was all set to add a third shift too. Problems started arising when suppliers couldn’t keep up with the high demand of parts from Ford which started causing delays. Ford is facing problems in acquiring trim and metal parts as per the demand and this is one of the main reasons for the high waiting period. Nigel Harris, who is heading Ford India stated that the company is ready to start the third production shift and they are just waiting for suppliers to pump up supply.
Another reason for the hike in the EcoSport’s waiting period is that Ford exports 1 out of every 5 vehicles made. Buyers are already bugged by the 8 month long waiting period and to make matters worse, Ford isn’t providing price protection to customers who booked their vehicles earlier. Ford surely has a big reason to worry since buyers can’t wait for long and they will opt for other products in the market such as the Honda City, Mahindra XUV5OO, Renault Duster, etc. Indian buyers are known for cross-shopping so the possibility of them opting for a vehicle from some other segment can’t be ruled out.
Ford needs to act quickly, the company should immediately offer price protection to buyers while also reducing exports and pumping up production capacity. The dealers too need to be notified about delivery times and should convey the same to buyers honestly. Ford will soon launch the Fiesta facelift which is bound to do better sales owing to a reduced price caused by the heavy localisation of parts (the EcoSport and Fiesta have many common parts between them). With the upcoming Fiesta likely to sell in good numbers, Ford can’t afford to keep customers waiting.
Source – Autocar Professional