BRAZIL: Ford EcoSport begins 2012 model launch season
Ford Asia Pacific chief Joe Hinrichs launches the EcoSport at the New Delhi Expo earlier this month
At least 25 completely new models – domestic and foreign – should be launched here in Brazil this year, on top of restyles, new versions and new powertrains, a minimum of 40 introductions.
Unusually, Ford previewed the new EcoSport small SUV in the capital, Brasilia, simultaneously with the unveiling at the New Delhi Auto Expo. It will be sold in 100 countries and Brazilian-made versions will be exported to all of Latin America, Mexico included.
India, Spain and China will also produce the vehicle though not all locations have been confirmed by Ford so far.
The new EcoSport retains the previous, Brazilian-made model's spare wheel attached to the tailgate but would look better without it.
It goes on sale first in Brazil in the second quarter with May or June most likely.
Until then, Ford Brazil will promote the current EcoSport aggressively with incentives against the Duster which now overwhelmingly leads the compact SUV segment in Brazil and Argentina. But the American brand is confident of winning the crown back once the new EcoSport is on sale.
The new model was developed largely at Ford's Camaçari, development centre in Bahia state and the automaker decided it had to preview the model here at the same time it was unveiled in India. It'll also appear next in April at the Shanghai show.
The prototype displayed in Brasilia concealed interior layout and some exterior details such as headlamps.
Ford would not discuss mechanicals but it is known that the architecture is shared with the North American Fiesta currently imported from Mexico but later to be built in Bahia as well.
Engine choices were also not disclosed but it was announced in India that the new, three cylinder, turbocharged, directly-injected, 120bhp Ecoboost unit will be on the list.
But first, for Latin America, power will come from the 116bhp Sigma all-aluminium I4 1.6 already used here in the Fiesta and Focus. The Bahia-made I3 Ecoboost will follow in 18 months. It will also go into the Brazilian Ecosport which will also be offered with the two-litre, I4 Duratec engine.