Grand/Mega Ford Ecosport ruled out, 65% localization to begin with, long wheelbase EcoSport is a myth!

Posted on: May 10, 2013 - 12:02pm IST

We were invited to the Ford EcoSport deep dive program in Goa this week where we got the chance to speak to officials from the higher tiers of the product development program.

When we asked them about the 9mm difference in the wheelbase lengths of the Chinese and Brazilian EcoSports (data acquired from the official websites of the two regions), officials said the wheelbases are the same everywhere in the world.

Ford EcoSport front view at 2013 Auto ShanghaiFord Ecosport front view

[There’s an invisible difference to the design of the lower section of the bumper under the grille on the Indian car]

Ehab Kaoud, chief designer of the Ford EcoSport, pointed out that the area between the bottom left corner of the hexagonal grille and the air dam was pushed in for the car to qualify for the sub-4m tax incentives in the Indian market. He says if the Indian and Brazilian EcoSports are parked alongside each other, differences cannot be told.

Europe Ford EcoSport rear
Ford will offer the spare wheel on the back of the car in every one of the 100 markets it is destined to. Spare wheel cover availability depends on the outcome of market studies.

Amid complaints that the exposed spare wheel is too macho or brash for European tastes, Ford officials said the car will be sold with the spare wheel bolted to the back door in every one of the 100 markets planned. However the the spare wheel cover would be a standard equipment in some markets, while in places like India, it would be an optional extra. Ford India begins exporting the EcoSport to Europe later this year.

Ford Ecosport Ecoboost engine
1L Ecoboost engine is fully imported from Romania. Long term plans to manufacture it in Chennai when volumes grow appear to exist.

Job 1 of the EcoSport at the Chennai plant would have 65% localization. The 1-liter Ecoboost engine is imported from Craiova (Romania) while the other engines, borrowed from the Fiesta’s chassis, are localized almost entirely. Though there isn’t an immediate plan to localize the 1L engine, there certainly appears to be one when volumes pick up. Ford makes over 15 engine variants on a single line at Chennai, and the Ecoboost could one day roll out of this plant. It is learned that the vision is to ultimately localize 85% of the car.

Ford EcoSport 4WD variant rear
4WD variant, launched in Brazil, is ruled out for India.

Ford opens bookings in June and deliveries would begin before the end of that month. A reason why Ford didn’t announce bookings in advance is because they’d like customers to drive away vehicles soon after they book, without added delays. Ford officials say they are more prepared to respond to market demands today with the EcoSport than they were when they launched the Figo three years ago. No hints were dropped on the prices as they haven’t been decided yet.

Ford EcoSport rear seat at 2013 Auto Shanghai
Ford is offering the same wheelbase for the EcoSport in all markets. Shown here is the Chinese EcoSport from the Shanghai auto show.

Ford is not ruling out 4WD technology for Europe but there appears to be no interest to sell this variant in India. In Brazil the EcoSport comes with 4WD on the top-end 2.0L variant. As the technology has been offered since the first generation EcoSport’s launch in the early 2000’s, it continues to be sold on the second generation model.

Trevor Worthington, APA Vehicle programs Director at Ford Motor Company, told Indian Autos Blog that extending the EcoSport’s length to seat a bigger body shell, thereby allowing the implantation of two extra jump seats, would move it away from being an urban SUV “into something else.” Ford has to be “really careful before performing such an operation.” He said the EcoSport’s size was determined with urban landscapes in mind and making a Grand or Mega EcoSport with seats for seven individuals was certainly not on the cards, though opportunities continue to be studied.

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16 thoughts on “Grand/Mega Ford Ecosport ruled out, 65% localization to begin with, long wheelbase EcoSport is a myth!

  1. AC says:

    Pls. advise why did the “Eco sport” go belly up in Goa. Is it because the C.G of this vehicle is very high. Also FORD does not seem interested in launching the vehicle in india.
    By the time ford decides to launch the Car the interest in the vehicle will be lost and ford will have themselves to blame for it.

    Reply
  2. Ravier says:

    Hi,
    Thank you for the review.
    Do you know if they plan to build an Ecosport 4WD and 6 speed Automatic?

    Reply
  3. Sujit says:

    There’s no front bumper! Will there be any scope to fit a bull-bar? The front is likely to get bumped in parking spaces and suffer damage. What accessories will be available?Any option for 17″ wheels instead of the 16″ ones? Pl do give some essential info!

    Reply
  4. Bobby says:

    5lac bracket price is must for sub 4 meter car….

    Reply
  5. sandeep says:

    you can see India will get lower spec cars compared to other countries look the wipers the others get a nice wiper , and we will get a cheap designed outdated wiper

    Reply
  6. Mohammed says:

    I would be more than thrilled to have a proper 5 seater ES with sufficient cabin space and appropriate boot space. Just don’t worry about adding jump seats or making it a 7 seater. The one you’ve cooked up here suits the West well, but India ,I think have a different set of requirements.

    The Chevy Beat was funky and had very futuristic design elements, never seen in India before. However, the car clocked average numbers despite having great mileage figures too. It wasn’t practical for the average Indian, its cramped rear could hardly accommodate 2 adults and had a minimal boot. Instead they turned to Figo, which had an outdated plain design, but was spacious enough for 5 adults, carried a massive boot and offered a reasonable mix of ride, handling. and mileage. Lessons for Ford here ? 🙂

    Reply
  7. Shrawan Bajaj says:

    Was the mention of “higher tiers” necessary in “we got the chance to speak to officials from the higher tiers of the product development program.”

    To resort to such unofficial hierarchical classification shows either IAB does not have credibility in its coverage, or that only “highr tier” persons are believable.

    Request you to reconsider your approach.

    Reply
    1. Hi Shrawan, by higher tiers we meant higher officials, the decision makers or the program leaders of the Ford EcoSport project.

      Reply
      1. Sameer Bajrang says:

        Hi Shrawan,

        I agree with Mr. Bajaj.

        IAB has its own credibility and does not need to use self-devised-fancy-sounding-nomenclatures to state its case. If the persons have a designation then state it so, but please do not make your own assumptions.

        Higher officials means nothing, and equally so for ‘program leaders’. The decision maker for big business decisions is always the CEO.

        In many organisations people across a wider range of levels (and not only higher poistion) are aware of detailed future plans because they are laying the groundwork for it.

        Humbly request you to avoid vague statements on position to make your comments plausible .

      2. W110 says:

        Shrawan, Thanks for the great effort you put in maintaining this blog. Much appreciated. This has become my first site to open followed by other Auto blogs.

        Just a qq:
        – Was the steering controls (wiper and indicator stalks position) similar to other fords? or has it been changed as right hand drive markets?
        – Dont they have any special pillar kinda stuffs holding the spare wheel? Is it just sitting on the door hinges support on the door?
        – Is the space on the rear seat area similar to Ford Fiesta Classic?
        – Did you guys check on the beige interiors some test mules were spotted in chennai with?

      3. Hi! Thank you for reading, we’re doing our best to serve you with the best content.

        Coming to your questions –

        1) Steering column stalks are in the same location as the Fiesta. It has not been changed for the RHD market.
        2) There is a mounting on the door on which the spare wheel sits.
        3) Rear seat comfort is slightly better than the Fiesta. On the top end model, we could recline the seat back in three positions, this will be shown in our review that’s coming up shortly.
        4) There is no clarity on the beige interior, officials said there will be two interior schemes, but I did not see the second one live. My assumption is the first one is light gray+black while the second one is a dark grey+black (the one we drove).

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About the Author
Shrawan
Shrawan Raja

I'm Shrawan, the Founder & CEO of IndianAutosBlog.com. I love teamwork and talking about cars.