Charl Bosch
Online Motoring Reporter
2 minute read
11 Jul 2022
10:33 am

Ford set to close EcoSport plant in India this week

Charl Bosch

Blue Oval previously confirmed it has enough South African stock to meet demand.

Popular Black Pack based on the entry-level Ambiente set to be in the firing line once supply eventually runs out.

Ford’s Chennai Plant in India, rumoured to have been bought by Tata, will reportedly cease operations later this week when it builds the final batch of 1 500 EcoSports for export markets.

An announcement long coming after the Blue Oval’s shock confirmation last year that it would be leaving India after a decade of losses totalling $2-billion, as well as its partnership collapse with Mahindra, Brazil reports that the Craiova Plant in Romania will continue with EcoSport production, but only until the end of this year.

Ford EcoSport plant set to close this week
Newly revealed EcoSport Active unlikely to face the axe soon as production takes place in Romania.

Reportedly, the facility, which also makes the smash-hit Puma that largely replaced the EcoSport in Europe, will be retooled and modernised for the production of a yet-as-unknown electric vehicle out sometime next year.

Accordingly, the EcoSport, which in its current second-generation guise debuted back in 2012, will not be replaced or sourced from a different plant following the end of production in Brazil last year, China two years ago, Russia in 2019, and Thailand in 2018.

ALSO READ: EcoSport and Figo future unknown as Ford India shuts down

While still available in some European markets, the EcoSport, originally made for Latin America as a redevelopment of the European-market Fusion based on the fourth generation Fiesta, has largely been panned in key markets, that resulted in it being withdrawn following the debut of the Puma.

At present, it remains unknown as to how South Africa will be affected due to the Puma still being deemed a no-go, more than likely as a result of its likely price tag.

Ford EcoSport plant set to close this week
The original EcoSport was developed for Latin America where it lasted from 2003 to 2012.

Currently, both the Chennai and Craiova plants are used for South Africa, with the former supplying models powered by the entry-level 1.5-litre three-cylinder Dragon petrol and 1.5 TDCi engines, and the latter the 1.0 EcoBoost derivatives.

Ford Motor Company Southern Africa has, however, stated that enough stock has been secured in readiness for the Chennai plant’s closure, telling the media at the launch of the EcoSport Active last month that it isn’t concerned about not meeting still high demand.

Ford EcoSport plant set to close this week
Production and sales of the once popular Figo has already ended.

Currently, the Dragon engine models account for the biggest percentage of EcoSport sales in South Africa, a trait the Blue Oval capitalised on with the introduction of the Black Pack based on the 1.5 Ambiente automatic, that became so popular it required an extension of production for the rest of this year after the initial allocation sold out in quick succession.

With Ford having already ended local sales and importation of the Figo in South Africa, chances are that an announcement regarding the EcoSport could be made before the end of the year. For now though, it continues as is.