Say goodbye to Ford's smallest SUV.
After the Fiesta sedan and hatchback were discontinued in the US, Ford launched the EcoSport as a replacement. The EcoSport debuted in 2012 and was originally sold in India, Japan, Taiwan, Australia, South Africa, and parts of Europe, before arriving in America in 2017 to fill the void left by the party hatch. Since it launched in America, the EcoSport has soldiered on but has faced stiff competition from newer rivals like the Hyundai Kona, Kia Soul, and Honda HR-V.
As a result, the compact SUV has struggled to stand out, so it comes as no surprise that Ford has announced the EcoSport will be discontinued in the US market. Ford confirmed to the Detroit Free Press that the EcoSport will be built and exported to America until mid-2022. Let's hope Ford replaces it with the Puma crossover, which has never been offered in the US market.
In Europe, the EcoSport will remain on sale and will be supplied from a factory in Romania. The EcoSport has never been a strong seller in America. In the US, Ford sold 60,544 EcoSports last year during the pandemic, but sales have declined by 22 percent between January and August this year compared to the same period in 2020 during the pandemic. However, its demise is a direct result of Ford shutting down its manufacturing operations in India.
After Ford's India division suffered losses totaling $2 billion over the last ten years, the Blue Oval automaker's Indian vehicle assembly plant in Sanand will wind down vehicle assembly by Q4 2021. Its plant in Chennai, where the North American Ford EcoSport is built, will stop manufacturing vehicles by the second quarter of 2022.
"As part of our Ford+ plan, we are taking difficult but necessary actions to deliver a sustainably profitable business longer-term and allocate our capital to grow and create value in the right areas," said Jim Farley, Ford Motor Company's president and CEO. "Despite investing significantly in India, Ford has accumulated more than $2 billion of operating losses over the past 10 years and demand for new vehicles has been much weaker than forecast."
This doesn't mean Ford is completely abandoning the Indian car market, however. More than 500 employees will continue exporting Ford Ranger engines at the Sanand Engine plant and around 100 employees will support parts distribution and customer service for Ford's India business. Ford will also soon begin importing the Mustang for India.