Since its debut in 2003, the Ford EcoSport has given American automotive shoppers an affordable choice for a crossover SUV. The subcompact EcoSport is the least expensive and smallest SUV in the Ford SUV lineup. However, the EcoSport era is coming to an end, for Ford will discontinue it in North America.
The EcoSport is discontinued because of the Ford plant closure in India
The news about the discontinuation of the EcoSport comes fresh on the heels of the announcement by Ford that it will shutter its plant in Chennai, India. The operations in India have been a financial drain on Ford. With the Chennai plant closure and another plant closure in Gujarat, Ford will cease its vehicle production in India, even though the automaker will take a multibillion-dollar hit in doing so. The EcoSport models for the North American market are built at the Chennai plant, so it is one of the casualties of the plant closure.
Of course, as anyone that is familiar with the Ford EcoSport, the plant closure is not the only reason for the discontinuation. It is very weak on the performance and reliability fronts. As far as features, there is much to be desired. For the subcompact crossover SUV segment, there are many other better options, such as the Hyundai Kona, Mazda CX-30, Kia Seltos, Subaru Crosstrek, and Honda HR-V.
When will the Ford EcoSport be discontinued?
If you were planning on buying a new EcoSport in the near future, there’s no need to panic. The Chennai plant won’t close immediately and will continue to produce the EcoSport until the second quarter of 2022. This will enable dealerships to sell the 2022 EcoSport for most of the 2022 calendar year.
It is interesting to note, though, that Ford previously had planned on giving the EcoSport a mild update. With the discontinuation, Ford will only produce the current version of the EcoSport. It leaves one to wonder if the discontinuation — and the Chennai plant closure — were abrupt recent decisions. The Covid-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on vehicle production in the past year-and-and-half, which could be partially to blame for the decision.
However, the EcoSport is not entirely dead. Ford will still produce the subcompact crossover at its plant in Craiova, Romania. This version of the EcoSport is only available for sale for European customers, but not in North America.
Will another Ford model replace the EcoSport?
Currently, Ford does not have another subcompact crossover SUV in the works to replace the EcoSport. When Ford stops selling the EcoSport, the Escape compact SUV will be the most affordable model in the Ford SUV lineup.
A suitable alternative to the EcoSport could be the Maverick compact pickup truck. While it’s not an SUV, it has some of the attributes that attract EcoSport buyers. Like the EcoSport, it has high fuel economy, for it comes equipped with an efficient hybrid powertrain. Also, with its car-like unibody construction, it is very maneuverable. Additionally, the Maverick is affordable, with a starting price of $21,490.