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One brand notably absent from the current lineup of subcompact SUVs is Ford. The American automaker made headlines last year when it announced it was discontinuing its only subcompact SUV, leaving many wondering if Ford would ever return to this competitive segment. With strong competition and growing demand, it begs the question: will Ford make a comeback in the subcompact SUV market, or have they left the door open for their rivals to take over?

A blue 2022 Ford EcoSport driving in a city.
Ford EcoSport | Ford Media

Why Ford discontinued its only subcompact SUV

Ford recently discontinued the EcoSport, which was its only subcompact SUV offering in North America. The EcoSport was introduced to the U.S. market in 2018. Ford’s decision to discontinue the EcoSport in North America by mid-2022 was primarily driven by a decrease in sales.

According to the GM Authority, the EcoSport saw a significant decline in sales in Q1 2023 compared to the same period in 2022, with only 1,649 units sold versus 8,426 units in Q1 2022, marking an 80% decrease in sales. This decline in sales may have been one of the factors that led Ford to exit the subcompact SUV market in North America.

The EcoSport faced tough competition in the North American market, as it was considered one of the least expensive subcompact SUVs and received mixed reviews from consumers and critics. Rivals such as the Chevrolet Trax, Honda HR-V, Hyundai Venue, and Toyota Corolla Cross offered more compelling features and better overall value, contributing to the EcoSport’s lackluster sales performance.

The EcoSport’s 1.0-liter 3-cylinder engine was also one of the least powerful on the market, and buyers had to pay extra for a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder model.

Despite not making the model anymore, there are a few EcoSports being sold this year. However, with low overall inventories, dealers may not offer much of a discount for a discontinued model.

Will Ford return to the subcompact SUV segment or move on?

It’s difficult to say whether Ford will return to the subcompact SUV market, but it’s possible. The demand for smaller SUVs has been growing steadily in recent years, and this trend will likely continue. Ford may see this as an opportunity to re-enter the market with a new, more competitive model. However, Ford may also choose to focus on its larger SUVs, such as the Escape and Explorer, which have been popular with consumers.

Ford’s decision to discontinue the EcoSport may have been due to its lack of success in the market, but it could also be a strategic move to focus on more profitable models. With the company’s recent push toward electric vehicles, Ford may decide to focus on developing new electric SUVs rather than re-entering the subcompact SUV market.

Ultimately, only time will tell whether Ford will return to the subcompact SUV market or not. With strong competition from other automakers and changing consumer preferences, Ford will need to carefully consider its options before making a decision.

The success of competitors in the category

The subcompact SUV segment has become increasingly competitive, with models like the Chevy Trailblazer finding success in recent years. In the first quarter of 2023, Chevy sold 27,951 Trailblazers, representing a significant 225% increase compared to the same period in 2022. The Trailblazer has also captured around 10% of the market share in the subcompact SUV segment.

Ford has a strong history of producing successful SUVs, and with a renewed focus on electrification and innovation, they could develop a new subcompact SUV that appeals to today’s consumers. Ford would have to compete with SUVs like the Trailblazer if it were to re-enter the subcompact SUV market. With the right design, features, and pricing, they could win back market share and establish themselves once again in the SUV category.


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