Can Ford EcoSport launch boost Indian auto industry passenger vehicles sales volumes
Current economic scenarios and the Budget session have forced many an auto brand to stick by the side of their compact SUV models to help increase sales for their respective brands. Passenger car sales volumes have declined by 26% in February 2013, though utility vehicle sales is promising. Indian domestic passenger vehicle (PV) industry volumes sales declined by 16.7% for Feb 2013 when compared YOY. Sales decline for YOY January 2013 was reported at 4.6% , and 1.1% for December 2012.
As such, it remains to be seen whether or not the soon to be launched Ford EcoSport compact urban utility vehicle can help boost sagging sales figures in the Indian auto industry. Ford India is leaving no stone unturned to create awareness for the new EcoSport SUV in India which is scheduled launch most likely in June 2013. The model which was showcased at Delhi Auto Expo last year will come in with a host of features. Ford India is going full steam ahead in their EcoSport debut, success of which they are confident of. This sub 4 meter SUV will display enhanced agility, latest in technology and will be a compact family car with 200mm ground clearance.
Ford EcoSport with a 1.0 Ford EcoBoost engine offering 125 hp along with a 1.5 liter gasoline engine with 110 hp while its 1.5 diesel engine is capable of 90 bhp. EcoSport is the second global Ford SUV after Kuga to be launched in Europe. It brings with it a contemporary design with a certain amount of sportiness. Its front end is seen with a large grille and bonnet and angular headlights. Ford EcoSport will possess latest in technology right from its voice command SYNC to AppLink and music streaming service Spotify. Safety features will be at its optimum with on board Emergency Assistance in the event of an accident while hill start assist, Keyless Entry, Push Button start, Rear Parking Sensor and ESP are also to be seen.
Another contributor to current sales contraction is pre-buying in 2012 Q4 based on expected excise duty hike in the Union Budget for 2012-13. Utility Vehicle (UV) segment contributes for 20% of industry volumes, and recorded 34.8% YoY sales growth for Feb 2013. This being said, there are a few new compact SUV entrants to be available to customers in the next 2 years. Last month saw sales of passenger vehicles fall to a 12 year low as compared to the same period last year which saw a growth of 13.11%.
During 2012, Renault Duster and Mahindra Quanto compact SUV variants were launched and greatly appreciated, translating to positive sales. Compact SUV’s are a key vehicle segment as there are a number of car manufacturers looking to capture the market with these vehicles. During this year Ford EcoSport SUV will be launched, while Maruti XA Alpha SUV last seen at the 2012 Delhi Auto Expo will also soon make an entry. General Motors (Chevrolet Trax) is oft spoken about, and recently the Mahindra SsangYong jointly developed compact SUV for India was spied. As per the Budget, excise duty on full sized SUV’s has been increased to 30% while compact SUV models precisely sub 4 metre) are subjected to 12% excise duty. The lower prices owing to less amount of excise duty being paid translate into reasonably priced vehicles for customers opting for compact SUV models.