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Ford, Mahindra Team Up in India, Eye Other Emerging Markets

Move follows GM’s decision to abandon Indian market.

by on Sep.18, 2017

For the 2018 model year, Ford's smallest SUV, the EcoSport, gets a facelift just in time for its U.S. debut. The small ute is built in India and shipped to the U.S.

Just months after General Motors decided to pull out of the Indian automotive market Ford Motor Co. is hoping to kick-start its struggling operations there by teaming up with local pickup and SUV manufacturer Mahindra & Mahindra.

The strategic alliance marks the second time Ford and Mahindra have tried to team up. They ended a three-year venture focused on producing small sedans in 2005. The new partnership could prove critical for Ford, which had been considering exiting India despite the fact that many analysts believe the market could eventually be nearly as large as China’s.

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“Ford is committed to India and this alliance can help us deliver the best vehicles and services to customers while profitably growing in the world’s fifth largest vehicle market,” said Jim Farley, Ford executive vice president and president of Global Markets. (more…)

Ford Freshens Up Little EcoSport Ahead of U.S. Arrival

European version takes a bow in Frankfurt.

by on Sep.12, 2017

For the 2018 model year, Ford's smallest SUV, the EcoSport, gets a facelift just in time for its U.S. debut.

Already a solid performer in the European market, Ford is giving a subtle facelift to the pint-sized EcoSport SUV ahead of its American arrival next year.

The smallest ute in the Detroit automaker’s line-up began life in Brazil back in 2003 and is beginning a global rollout that marks the worldwide surge in demand for small SUVs. The version Americans will start to see in showrooms a year from now is set to become the first Indian-made vehicle exported to the U.S.

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The updated Ford EcoSport debuting at the Frankfurt Motor Show adopts a more modern face, and nicer interior, adds a new diesel package and its first all-wheel-drive option, while also beefing up its technology with, among other things, the addition of the latest Sync 3 infotainment system. (more…)

Indian-Made Ford EcoSport Likely to Add Fuel to Trade Debate

Automakers could be heading for showdown with new president.

by on Nov.15, 2016

Coming at us - from India - the new Ford EcoSport.

Ford’s new EcoSport model is set to become the smallest SUV in the Detroit carmaker’s line-up, but it could fuel the big debate over automotive trade.

That’s because the little EcoSport will roll off a Ford assembly line in India, rather than one in the United States. Ford has also made plans to move all of its small passenger car production from its U.S. operations to a new facility in Mexico – a decision frequently cited by President-elect Donald Trump during his campaign.

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The Republican candidate repeatedly warned that he would take steps to block Ford from importing Mexican-made passenger cars, if by no other means than adding hefty tariffs. Since last week’s election, the incoming administration has sent signals it will not only try to tear up NAFTA and block the Trans-Pacific trade deal but it will look at barrier-inducing tariffs against a variety of countries, possibly including China. (more…)

Ford Unveiling New EcoSport Small Crossover in LA

Automaker plans debut at music festival just before LA Auto Show.

by on Nov.10, 2016

Ford plans to roll out its new subcompact crossover, the EcoSport, in Los Angeles next week.

Ford’s next big new product reveal is going to be really small: The EcoSport.

What will be the Dearborn, Michigan-based maker’s smallest utility vehicle will be unveiled in Los Angeles next week. The debut was revealed by the self-styled “King of Snapchat” DJ Khaled via his SnapChat account.

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“It’s going to be a world premier with this new EcoSport,” he said in the video, which followed others of him driving in a Rolls-Royce convertible. (more…)

SUV Sales To Keep Growing, Ford Adding Four More Utes

Industry shifts product mix to reflect changing consumer demand.

by on Jan.14, 2016

Ford President Hinrichs, in white shirt, at the launch of the 2015 Edge utility-vehicle.

Light trucks sales surged to record numbers last year, and the shift from passenger cars to pickups, vans, and utility vehicles is far from over, or so Ford Motor Co. is betting as it realigns its future product plans.

The Detroit automaker is now planning to add at least four new SUVs over the next “few years,” a senior executive said this week, though President of the Americas Joe Hinrichs wouldn’t provide specific details on their roll-out.

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But the move is an inevitable reflection of industry trends, Hinrichs told TheDetroitBureau.com. “We see a lot of growth. SUVs were 30% of the industry last year but could go to 40%” before the end of the decade.

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Ford Targets Big Chinese Growth with EcoSport, Focus, Kuga

Another factory also will help.

by on Apr.24, 2012

Ford's new EcoSport - along with the Focus and Kuga models - is critical to its Chinese expansion strategy.

Off to a slow start in the world’s largest and fastest-growing automotive market, Ford Motor Co. is aiming to make up for lost time with an assortment of new product launches and a major expansion of its Chinese production network.

The maker gave a clear sense of the aggressiveness behind its campaign to double sales during its Beijing Motor Show news conference – and a subsequent media roundtable meeting with senior Asian managers.

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During the 45-minute auto show news conference, Ford officials pulled the wraps off a variety of models, including the new Focus subcompact, a completely restyled Kuga crossover and the all-new subcompact EcoSport CUV.  Joe Hinrichs, head of the maker’s Asia, Pacific and Africa operations also made a point of stressing Ford’s $6.7 billion commitment to its Chinese manufacturing network.

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First Look: Ford EcoSport

Will Ford eventually bring mini-crossover to U.S.?

by on Jan.04, 2012

The Ford EcoSport crossover shares platforms with the subcompact Fiesta model.

Ford is offering a first glimpse of a new mini-crossover that will share platforms with the maker’s global subcompact, the Fiesta.

Dubbed the Ford EcoSport, the new model made its formal debut this week at Auto Expo 2012, the big Indian motor show in New Delhi.  Underscoring the significance of the new model was the fact that Ford CEO Alan Mulally was personally on hand to lift the covers.

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“The all-new Ford EcoSport reflects our commitment to serve our customers with the cars and trucks they truly want and value,” said the 66-year-old executive.

The latest example of the so-called One Ford strategy – which calls for using common platforms and body “top hats” for markets around the world – the EcoSport is primarily aimed at what Ford describes as “major worldwide growth markets,” notably including India, China and Brazil.

(more…)