Made In India Ford Ecosport Will Be Shipped To South Africa
Ford believes its upcoming sub-4 metre long SUV, Ford Ecosport, will give it a “nimble” edge in the market. Ford India’s President and Managing Director, Michael Boneham is pleased with all the action in the compact SUV segment. Competitor Renault has already launched the Duster SUV; Mahindra is rolling out its mini SUV, Quanto. Maruti and Hyundai are also said to be gearing up for this segment.
Ford plans to launch the Ecosport, which it showcased at the Auto Expo in January, in the first quarter of 2013, in both petrol and diesel versions.
The Ford Ecosport will also be launched in South Africa next year. This seems like a logical step as the South African car market is very similar to the Indian market and the fact that the right-hand drive versions of the Eco-Sport will be manufactured at the American automakers plant outside Chennai.
While the Indian market is likely to get a 1.5-litre diesel engine variant of the car along with the 1.0-litre 128bhp Ecoboost petrol engine, the South African car market will get only the latter. It will join the Ford Kuga compact SUV, new Ford Fiesta as well as the Transit van as Ford’s offering in South Africa for 2013.
The Ford Ecosport has already been launched in China, Brazil and Argentina where it has achieved a considerable level of success. It is likely that Ford is banking on the EcoSport to achieve the same level of success that the Figo hatchback and the Ikon sedan achieved when they were launched.
Boneham said being a sub 4-metre car, Ecosport will enjoy the excise duty benefits of a small car, providing the company “flexibility” in pricing. But the compact SUV category will not cannibalise the market for sedans, said Boneham, adding that it will provide a new choice and address a “white space” in the market. It will create excitement among car buyers, said Boneham. Ecosport will be rolled out of Ford’s plant in Maraimalainagar, Chennai. Ford is investing Rs 750 crore in the plant for the Ecosport launch.