Last Ford EcoSport to be produced in India – Its the final goodbye from Ford
One of the saddest instances for the Indian auto industry in recent times was the exit of Ford from the local market. The American carmaker was reeling under huge losses for over a decade and as part of “restructuring operations in India”, the company quit the Indian market in September last year.
Ford had two plants in India. One located in Sanand, near Ahmedabad in Gujarat. And the other is located near Chennai in Tamil Nadu. From the Sanand plant, Ford produced their small cars like Figo, Freestyle and Aspire. From the Chennai plant, Ford produced EcoSport and Endeavour.
Last Ford EcoSport From India
It was on 9th Sep 2021 that Ford announced their exit from India. The first part of the plan was to stop production at Sanand Plant. This happened a month later in October 2021, when the last unit of the Ford Freestyle rolled out.
Production at the Chennai plant continued till now, to produce cars and engines for the export market. But that too has come to an end now. Last unit of the Ford EcoSport has rolled out of the Chennai plant. Below video by Team AutoTrend has captured the production of the last ever unit of Ford EcoSport from India, bidding final goodbye.
Ford EcoSport is widely considered as the one to start the sub 4 meter SUV segment in India. Concept was showcased in Jan 2012, at Delhi Auto Expo. It was unveiled by Alan Mulally, Ford’s then President and CEO. Launch finally took place in mid 2013 in India. It was met with a raging success. Booking numbers continued to increase as Ford finally had a car in India that was clocking in good sales.
EcoSport managed to give Ford a solid platform. Using this renewed push, Ford entered the mass segment to take on Maruti and Hyundai – with new gen Figo, Aspire and Freestyle. They even created a new production plant in Sanand for manufacturing these cars. Sadly, these cars did not click as expected. And in the end, it went so bad for Ford, that they had no other option, but to exit India.
PLI Scheme and Ford’s U Turn
Earlier this year, Ford has announced that it has been granted approval from the Government of India for its proposal under the Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme for the automobile sector. This gave Ford fans in India a ray of hope, as the iconic brand was contemplating returning to the Indian market, this time as a pure electric vehicle manufacturer.
The Blue Oval brand was among twenty carmakers who were selected under the ‘Champion OEM Incentive Scheme’. As a part of the PLI scheme, OEMs selected have been approved a budgetary outlay of Rs 25,938 crore. Inclusion of Ford came as a surprise since the carmaker had stopped all local operations last year. The excitement soon ended, when Ford announced that they were not going to make any further investment in India, even under the PLI scheme. Their Sanand plant is taken over by Tata Motors, while the Chennai plant is likely to get sold soon.