Rest in EcoPeace: Ford Confirms the Death of the EcoSport
Last week, Ford Motor Company announced plans to restructure operations in India and end manufacturing in the country. This comes with a casualty: the Ford EcoSport, built at the Chennai assembly plant. Call it the NecroSport now. Because it’s dead, darlings.
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Ford will shutter its Chennai engine and vehicle plants by mid-2022. When that happens, and once dealer inventories have run dry, the Ford EcoSport will be no more.
“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 Ford CEO Jim Farley.
EcoSport seemingly already on the chopping block
Ford began importing the EcoSport in late 2017, and it’s gathered a respectable following thanks to its petite size and nice price. Sales topped out at 67,708 in 2019, but they’ve since been down significantly — no doubt thanks in part to the pandemic and global production issues.
Still, the EcoSport kind of always felt like a placeholder for something else. Ford hasn’t done much to beef it up in the years since its debut — the 2021 model lacks essential Ford Co-Pillot360 features like Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking and the Lane-Keeping System. That puts it well behind competitors like the Nissan Kicks and Hyundai Kona.
The most appealing aspect of the EcoSport, arguably, is its price. Starting just over $20,000, the EcoSport undercuts segment rivals and sits a good $5,000 below the Ford Escape. But with the launch of the 2022 Ford Maverick, which takes its place as the most affordable new vehicle in the lineup, the EcoSport’s days seemed to be all but numbered. The end of manufacturing in India is merely the nail in its coffin.
Will Ford serve up a proper EcoSport replacement?
In the end, the death of the Ford EcoSport was pretty much an inevitability if only because of where Ford is going. The automaker is in the midst of a lineup overhaul that will eventually lead to a portfolio of electric vehicles. Price points will be a major part of converting drivers to EVs, and Ford has expressed interest in getting close to the $20K mark. An affordable electric subcompact SUV with all the fixings might just help Ford keep the momentum from vehicles like the Mustang Mach-E and F-150 Lightning.
Wherever the future lies for Ford, the EcoSport sadly won’t be a part of it. We hardly knew ye, and we hardly knew how to pronounce ye’s name.