Ford isn’t expecting its EcoSport subcompact SUV to reach very high sales in Europe since the model was conceptualized to target emerging markets. The European EcoSport presented at the Geneva Auto Show has the same powerful format as the original car that Ford’s design team undertook in South America. It even has the rear-mounted spare wheel.
Martin Smith, executive design director for Ford of Europe, said that this was intended to have a “rugged” look since most of the regions where it will be sold, such as in South America and India, will need a tough vehicle. Smith and the other design directors didn’t want to stray from Ford's global design principles but they decided to prioritize what buyers in emerging markets demanded.
For example, those who lived in countries with many bad roads wanted to have a spare wheel. Since it can’t be accommodated inside the vehicle, Ford decided to attach it on the rear, similar to how the traditional off-roaders did it. Consumers in Europe can have it removed it but the fastenings will stay visible. They also can’t cancel having the spare wheel.
Smith said that while the company realizes that this feature can appear too rugged and too added-on, they’re still offering the vehicle with the same configuration for all the markets.
The rugged EcoSport is the only one of its kind in a category where its European competitors are meant to appear sporty and playful such as the Nissan Juke, or styled the same as its tall subcompacts, like the recently presented Renault Captur and Peugeot 2008. Ford didn’t have much of a choice but to offer the EcoSport or lose out on what analysts IHS Automotive describe as a sector that will reach 500,000 in Europe by 2015, an increase from 154,461 units last year.
By officially unveiling the EcoSport during the 2012 Auto China, which is held in Beijing, Ford hopes that Chinese customers will now be able to realize that a sports utility vehicle is a good alternative to a small car. The EcoSport has a good mix of maneuverability, high driving position, confident stance, agility, and a robust character. Fuel efficiency is excellent given the compact footprint.
There is no doubt that it is more than a perfect combination for urban areas, a vehicle that good for both work and play. While the design is indeed more modern, it is also aerodynamic as the goal was to put focus on fuel economy. In addition, this newest offering from Ford comes with the latest features and is equipped with a host of smart technologies.
Craftsmanship meanwhile is on an entirely different level. All of these combine to make the EcoSport a vehicle that customers would not typically expect for this segment. Ford will be offering customers different powertrain solutions like the most hi-tech so far, the EcoBoost 1.0-liter engine. With this, there is no doubt that the EcoSport is ready to set new standards when it comes to fuel efficiency. Exciting features include, among the many innovative ones, the driver connect SYNC system that comes with voice control.
The interior shows exceptional comfort with the right amount of space. That said, the level of craftsmanship is just as excellent and matches the refinement and quietness. Ford Asia Pacific and Africa President Joe Hinrichs said that with the EcoBoost 1.0-liter engine, the EcoSport is guaranteed to deliver excellent fuel efficiency. It also offers quality that is truly outstanding, superior safety features, and with the SYNC, a truly smart design, he continued.
EcoSport is proof, he added, that the brand remains committed to serving not only customers in China but even those worldwide. Hinrichs said further that Ford will continue to come out with cars, trucks, and utilities, which customers value and want. According to Ford, it will come out with a production version of this fuel-efficient compact SUV. The brand expects to begin production in China to be followed by India, Thailand, and later, South America.