Debuting with a sliver of show-only frosting (check out those glitzy headlamps), the tiny crossover is about the same size as the Fiesta five-door, and it's built on the Blue Oval's new global B-Car architecture. Ford isn't revealing much in the way of powertrain specifics for this thinly disguised model, but our sources tell us the EcoSport will see the first application of the company's new 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine in India (yes, that means there will be an EcoSport EcoBoost), and presumably there will be an ethanol variant as well.
The upright CUV has been designed with emerging markets in mind, namely portions of Asia and South America, so we're unlikely to see it in North America (we'd be more likely to receive the B-Max MPV), though our sources tell us that an eventual European market appearance is not out of the question. Roughly 90 percent of cars in those markets are B-Segment or smaller, and the previous generation of the Brazilian-built EcoSport has sold some 750,000 units since hitting the market nine years ago.
While the original EcoSport sold almost exclusively in Brazil, the new model will spread its wings to take on a more global role as part of the company's One Ford agenda. To be assembled in both India and Brazil, the EcoSport represents the first time that Ford's team in Camacari, Brazil has taken the lead in conceiving a global product, another indication of the market's growing importance. The new EcoSport will be a lynchpin for the Blue Oval, who expect the Asia Pacific region to swallow up to one out of every three Ford vehicles sold by 2020 (it's just one in six today).
Want more proof of India's rise in importance? Officials tell us that Ford plans to treat the Delhi show as a first-tier show going forward, on par with Detroit, the Frankfurt Motor Show, and so on. Ostensibly, the show will replace a Tokyo Motor Show presence for the Dearborn automaker, as Ford was absent from last month's show in Japan.
UPDATE: Additional photos and sketches have been added to the gallery, along with two official videos and a press release after the jump.
· Ford's global product family grows with a new compact SUV, Ford EcoSport
· New EcoSport will arrive with the most advanced level of design, quality and sustainability in its class to attract new generations of consumers
· Unveiled by Ford Motor Company President and CEO Alan Mulally, the global compact SUV is the second of eight new vehicles that Ford plans to bring to India by mid-decade
· The vehicle will expand Ford's presence in Brazil, India, ASEAN markets and others to be announced at a later time, with world-class technology and quality, sharing the new B-class platform which is expected to sell more than 2 million units by mid-decade
NEW DELHI, Jan. 4, 2012 – Expanding its relentless push into the heart of Asia's car market, Ford introduces the all-new Ford EcoSport at Auto Expo 2012 this week. The new compact SUV will further augment Ford's offering in India, as well as in many other markets across the globe.
Modern and innovative, the all-new Ford EcoSport was designed to combine best-in-class design, technology, quality and safety aimed at attracting a new generation of consumers in different global markets.
Created as the latest One Ford global product, the EcoSport will be a key model in expanding Ford's presence in major worldwide growth markets, including India, Brazil and the ASEAN markets. It has been developed in South America at one of Ford's eight global product development centres in conjunction with teams from Asia, Europe and North America to meet the needs of markets across the globe.
"The all-new Ford EcoSport reflects our commitment to serve our customers with the cars and trucks they truly want and value," said Alan Mulally, president and CEO, Ford Motor Company. "Our engineering team used their years of EcoSport experience to make every aspect of the next-generation EcoSport even stronger."
The all-new Ford EcoSport exemplifies the DNA of Ford global vehicles and its versatility broadens the horizons of mobility and use. Its genuine SUV confidence starts in the stability of the chassis, reinforced by the body's robust build, high torsional stiffness and high levels of protection for its occupants. Yet, its innovative design reduces the weight and ensures good fuel efficiency.
Contemporary new EcoSport shape
The all-new EcoSport's contemporary shape conveys confidence while combining refinement and an adventurous spirit in an intelligent and modern package. It sports key SUV cues such as the confident stance, command driving position and signature spare wheel mounted on a swing-gate at the rear of the vehicle.
The EcoSport's hardy character and strong stance give it the appearance of a larger vehicle, while retaining the agility and practicality of a compact car. It features high ground clearance and integrated lower body cladding for robustness.
The back of the vehicle is marked by a large rear window which wraps around to the sides and oblique shaped taillights. This characteristic defines the striking personality of the EcoSport family: a sporty and casual car, for consumers who want to stand out and who want more from life, but in an intelligent and sustainable way.
New global products for growth markets
Previewing the vehicle design first at the 11th Annual Auto Expo in New Delhi gives Ford the opportunity to introduce EcoSport to consumers in one of the world's biggest automotive growth markets ahead of its future global rollouts.
The new EcoSport was developed on Ford's new global B-segment platform, which will be the basis for an array of new small-car products from Ford in the coming years. By mid-decade, the new Ford B-platform family of vehicles will represent more than 2 million units of annual production as compact cars continue to drive global growth.
The EcoSport has been a market phenomenon since it was launched in South America in 2003 as the region's first affordable SUV, selling 700,000 vehicles in nine years. It created a new segment and popularized features that many consumers had wanted.
The EcoSport will be produced at ultra-modern, flexible assembly plants in Brazil, India, and other markets to be announced at a later time. The EcoSport as a global vehicle is an example of the technical ability of Ford's global engineering and high level of integration of the design and engineering centres around the world.
The project was led by Ford's Development Center in Camaçari, Brazil, one of the most specialized in the development of compact cars. The team leveraged Ford engineering strength and SUV expertise from around the world to create the all-new EcoSport.
"The new EcoSport is a significant milestone for our global product development process," said Derrick Kuzak, group vice president, Global Product Development. "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."
EcoSport's development was shaped by market research in all of the regions where it will be sold. This helped create a unique vehicle, focused on the needs and desires of consumers. It will eventually be sold in nearly 100 markets worldwide.
Fuelling expansion in Asia and beyond
The all-new EcoSport is a significant linchpin in Ford's aggressive global plan to achieve its goal of increasing worldwide sales by nearly 50 percent by mid-decade to 8 million vehicles a year. Of that figure, 60 to 70 percent is expected to come from the Asia Pacific and Africa region.
"We've promised to bring more than 50 new vehicles and powertrains to Asia Pacific and Africa by mid-decade and the all-new EcoSport continues to deliver on that pledge," said Joe Hinrichs, president, Ford Asia Pacific and Africa. "Endowed with traits that customers in markets like India will want and value, this exciting compact SUV will define a new segment in the small car market."
The EcoSport is the second of eight products slated to be launched in India by mid-decade and will bring about further momentum in a business transformation that was kick started by the Ford Figo and strengthened by the new Ford Fiesta sedan. Ford India's shift from niche automaker to volume player is supported by several new investments in the country.
Ford recently broke ground in Sanand, Gujarat as part of an investment of approximately USD 1 billion to build new vehicle manufacturing and engine plants. Ford also announced earlier an investment of USD 72 million by this year (2012) to expand its already operating powertrain facility in Chennai. Ford's total investment in India to date is approximately USD 2 billion.
The new EcoSport will be produced in the integrated Chennai manufacturing facility which has been transformed with an annual production capacity of 200,000 units and is now positioned as a Ford regional centre of excellence for compact-car engineering and production. Ford EcoSport models will be also produced at the plant for export to international markets.
"Following the success of the game-changing Ford Figo and 'tech-tastic' Fiesta sedan, the all-new Ford EcoSport will certainly broaden our showroom offering in India, keeping in step with the aspirations of our customers," said Michael Boneham, president and managing director, Ford India. "With its tremendous value story, we're confident this compact SUV will greatly bolster our presence in the competitive Indian market."
Strengths Under EcoSport's New Shape
Designed to offer balanced performance on paved roads as well as off-road terrain, the all-new Ford EcoSport is ideal for the urban consumer who wants the versatility to escape the city.
Developed to world-class product standards via the Ford global product development system, the next-generation model delivers on key traits customers all around the world demand:
Smart – New technology and features from Ford will be central to the all-new Ford EcoSport ownership experience. It will offer innovative equipment normally not found in this class of vehicle.
Green – Fuel efficiency was a key factor in the development process, as Ford targets the EcoSport to deliver leading fuel economy in its segment.
Safe – The all-new Ford EcoSport has been engineered to meet the most demanding safety standards in the various markets where it will be sold. Its weight-optimized, highly resistant body, developed with advanced software and design tools, combines zones aimed to absorb the forces of impact with an extremely rigid cell to protect its occupants.
Quality – The all-new Ford EcoSport will deliver impressive levels of quality and craftsmanship, reflecting its new world-class design and engineering story, and has endured rigorous developmental testing around the globe. Low maintenance costs and great durability were also key objectives in the development process.