Ford confident Ecosport tweaks will make small SUV competitive in Europe
Production of Ford’s Mokka X rival is switching from India to Romania; just one of several revisions aimed at boosting the car’s fortunes
The upcoming facelift for the Ford Ecosport should finally make the Blue Oval competitive in Europe in the fast growing small SUV segment, according to Ford of Europe boss Jim Farley.
The Ecosport facelift is due later this year, and it will coincide with Ford switching production of the Vauxhall Mokka X rival from India to Romania. “We’ve finally got it,” said Farley on the revisions, “and we’ve had lots of feedback on that car.”
Farley described the Ecosport facelift as “a big deal”, and the revisions would mainly focus on the interior. The perceived quality is set to be significantly improved and Ford is also set to offer its latest connectivity options through its Sync3 system.
The Ecosport has already been revised several times since it was first launched in 2013 with the external spare wheel on the tailgate. That has since departed for European buyers, but the car still lags behind rivals including the Mokka X and Renault Captur, something the facelift will address.
Farley also said Ford would look to offer the Active trim to be introduced on the next-generation Fiesta across more of its models to cash in on the growing market for crossover vehicles. “We could expand it to existing models but we will see the reception on the Fiesta first,” he said.
There was also growth potential in the Vignale trim, and Farley said Ford was investigating equipping more Ford dealers with the ability to sell Vignale models, which is as much about the owner experience as a premium trim level itself through offering the concierge service, Vignale loan cars during servicing, and free car washes.
He said around 10% of Mondeo, S-Max and Galaxy models were sold as Vignales, and that was set to be higher for the Edge. Indeed, Farley said Ford is selling some Edges for €60,000 (about £52,000), which pushes Ford into premium territory at a price point where Ford’s own Lincoln luxury brand operates in other markets. Farley also spoke of the success of Ford’s performance models, and highlighted the fact the Mustang is outselling the Porsche 911.
“In Europe, there is now no difference between premium and mainstream,” he said. “People are falling back in love with Ford, and we can compete with premium.”