Europe: Ford makes adjustments to its EcoSport model after slow sales start image

The second largest US automaker, Ford Motor, has entered the hot European subcompact crossover segment with the EcoSport SUV, but deliveries lacked steam and now the company has decided to make some revisions.

For example, the small EcoSport crossover will be offered from now on without the spare wheel fitted on the outside of the rear tailgate – a nod to the all-wheel drive vehicles of old that were very capable off-roaders. So far, the EcoSport has failed to pick up pace in the region’s hot-selling subcompact SUV/crossover segment as it faced rivals such as the Renault Captur, Peugeot 2008 and Opel/Vauxhall Mokka. Their primary advantage – a sleeker look that married passenger car and SUV characteristics in a seamless blend of features. Last year when the India-produced EcoSport was brought to Europe, the US automaker said the rear design was there to stay. But now, starting with May, the model will come without the exterior-fitted spare wheel – coming as an option without any added cost – and the rear door would remain side-hinged. Additional revisions will bring new interior plastics and a modified suspension setup.

According to figures compiled by Jato Dynamics, the EcoSport’s deliveries tallied 11,257 units in Europe from its launch in April through November last year. The segment’s leader, the Renault Captur, meanwhile had sales of 149,701 units for the same timeframe – followed by the second-placed Peugeot 2008 at 125,002 units and third-placed Opel Mokka at 114,658 autos. IHS Automotive predicts the segment will continue to surge to at least 900,000 vehicles annually by 2017, after hitting 500,000 units in 2014.

Via Automotive News Europe