Ford unveils all-new Ecosport compact SUV in New Delhi

In what could be termed as the perfect curtain-raiser for the ongoing Indian Auto Expo, Ford pulled out a coup of sorts by unveiling the all-new Ecosport to the world on the eve of the biennial automotive event. What makes this unveiling more special is that this was the first time anybody in the world has seen the Ecosport, which is now in its second generation. The first generation Ecosport was developed and confined to the South American markets, especially Brazil, where it went on to become a massive success. Realizing the thirst and need for such small Sport Utility Vehicles in other parts of the world including India, this all-new Ecosport will be a global model, in line with the successful and popular ‘One Ford’ policy. 

As if to ascertain the significance of Ecosport in the company’s ever-expanding lineup of global models in India and abroad, Ford CEO Alan Mulally himself flew down to New Delhi to take part in the unveiling. Speaking on the occasion, Michael Boneham, President & MD of Ford India and Joe Hinrichs, Group VP, Ford Asia Pacific & Africa, were bullish on the new model’s prospects. Atleast in India, it’s not hard to see why. Indians love Sports Utility Vehicles and there is a huge vacant space at the bottom end of the SUV market in India. Decently-specced Scorpios and Safaris cost anywhere between 10 and 12 Lacs on road and nobody really cares about the Premier Rio, which at its current price of around 6 Lacs, is actually the first player in the much-hyped compact SUV segment.

Adapting the latest cues from the company’s kinetic design language, the Ecosport, to describe in one word, looks stunning. It is tall, butch and mean, qualities that most customers crave for in a SUV. The front end, with its slim LED headlights, trapezoidal three-part chrome grille, chrome-ringed fog lights and metallic insert in the bumper looks very upmarket. The massive and muscular wheel arches dominate the profile and the slender roof rails add a touch of style and class. The presence of spare tire in the tailgate gives this SUV a rugged look that’s hard to ignore. The taillights and rear windscreen are nicely shaped to look as if they converge in the center of the tailgate. Overall, if the production version looks like this, the Ecosport would turn heads wherever you go.

Ford also announced the debut of an all-new 3-cylinder 1.0-liter ‘EcoBoost’ engine, the company’s newest and smallest yet, under the hood of the Ecosport. If you do not know already, Ford’s EcoBoost engines have become extremely popular globally as they combine turbocharging and direct injection technologies to produce higher power output at lesser displacements, thereby aiding fuel efficiency. Ford claims that this engine will have a power output of 120 PS, a figure that can rival a normal 1.6-liter engine. Mated to a 5-speed manual transmission, this engine will emit less than 140 g/km of CO2, claims Ford. In addition to this, the 1.5-liter diesel engine from the new Fiesta is also expected to power the Ecosport.

In short, the Ecosport is just what many Indian families need at the moment. It is small enough to zip inside the city, comfortable enough to cruise along in the highways and rugged enough to traverse the nearby mountain or countryside. With an overall length of under 4 meters, the Ecosport will enjoy tax benefits in India that will help Ford in pricing it competitively. The company will also be under tremendous pressure not to repeat the mistake that it did with the new Fiesta by commanding a premium. Expected to go on sale later this year or early next year, the Ecosport has 'success' written all over it unless Ford decides otherwise. Over to you, Ford!

No comments:

Post a Comment