American auto giant Ford recently launched its EcoSport, a compact Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) that has created tremendous buzz in the Indian auto market. Its success and viability for different car markets prompted the manufacturer to export EcoSport to other countries as well. Nepal, in the beginning of July, became the first export destination for the Ford EcoSport compact SUV. Now, the American giant has also started shipments of the compact SUV to the South African market. However, no official information has been given by the manufacturer in terms of units or variants that will be exported to the region.
Reportedly, Ford EcoSport would be exported to South Africa from the Chennai Port. Notably, Ford India has been allocated a dedicated parking space by the authorities of Chennai Port, which allows the manufacturer to accommodate 500 cars. It must be noted that the domestic arm of American auto maker has been involved in the export of Figo hatchback to 36 regions across the globe with South Africa being one of them.
Sources have reported that Ford would be selling the same variants of EcoSport in South Africa as the ones available in India. Currently, there are three engine versions of the Ford EcoSport on sale in the Indian car market. The base version is powered by a TiVCT 1.5-litre petrol engine and comes with two options in terms of transmission, namely 5-speed manual and 6-speed dual-clutch PowerShift automatic. The two other variants of Ford EcoSport are equipped with 1.0-litre EcoBoost and 1.5-litre TDCi engines. Both these versions of the compact SUV are offered with manual transmission systems.
Reportedly, the South African market is expected to get the Ford EcoSport with front-wheel drive version only, just like India. Under local testing conditions, the company claims that the EcoBoost variant of the Ford EcoSport delivers a fuel efficiency of 17.24 kmpl. Reports from the South African media claim that the price range of the Ford EcoSport will be from 215000 Rand (Rs. 13.04 lakh) to 260000 Rand (Rs. 15.8 lakh). On export move of Ford India, industry experts believe that as the auto maker is involved readily in the export of EcoSport compact SUV to other countries like Nepal and South Africa, customers in India are enduring long waiting periods to get the car. Currently, the Ford EcoSport is being manufactured at the company's Chennai plant.
Along with, Ford has made official announcements regarding its plan of exporting the EcoSport compact SUV to several other markets across the globe. Manufactured in India, the vehicle is expected to reach several parts of Europe by the end of 2013 or early 2014. According to sources, subsidiaries and dealerships of Ford in certain regions are hoping to receive the first lot of the car by end of 2013. These regions include Middle Eastern countries, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. Sources further revealed that Ford India has made these regions definite fixtures on the company's export schedule.
It must be noted that Ford India has a broad and diverse production plan drafted for the EcoSport in coming years. Assessing its growth in the market, the Indian subsidiary of the American auto giant has lined up 5 possible production centres in the world. Apart from the plant in Chennai, Ford has is planning to produce the EcoSport in Elabuga (Russia), Rayong (Thailand), Camacari (Brazil) and Chongqing (China). After expanding production facilities, the auto maker expects to sell the EcoSport in as much as 62 countries by the end of 2017.