Detroit isn’t Ford’s only auto show commitment this month – in fact, the automaker just unwrapped the all-new EcoSport concept at the New Delhi Auto Show in India.
By concept, Ford actually means “thinly disguised future production model.” The automaker notes that the new EcoSport, which will replace the first-generation model launched nearly eight years ago, will be based off the company’s latest B-segment architecture, which also underpins the Fiesta and the B-Max people mover.
From afar, the new EcoSport bears a very close resemblance to the Vertrek concept, which accurately predicted the shape of the new 2013 Escape. The rounded nose, large lower grille, and upswept daylight openings are unique touches and hint at the Fiesta underpinnings – but unlike the last model, the entire design doesn’t resemble a Fiesta on stilts.
In another departure from the previous model, the new EcoSport won’t be sold only in South and Central American markets. Although development and design was handled entirely by Ford’s Brazilian engineering teams, the new EcoSport will be sold in select markets in Asia, including both India and Thailand.
“This is a significant milestone for our global product development process,” Derrick Kuzak, Ford’s group vice president for global product development, said in a prepared release. “It proves that great small-car models for growth markets can be created in growth markets, using One Ford to leverage our global design and engineering expertise.”
Given the EcoSport’s global aspirations, is there a chance it could come here? That’s very doubtful, unless North American demand for B-segment offerings were to skyrocket overnight. For the foreseeable future, the Escape will be the smallest Ford crossover sold in the U.S., although there is a chance the EcoSport could be sold in select European markets.
EcoSports will be manufactured close to key markets – as such, Ford has pledged thus far it will manufacture the CUV in Brazil, and India; we wouldn’t be surprised to see Thailand added to that list in the months to come. Brazil has the honors of building the vehicle first, as production is scheduled to begin by the end of 2012.