In a first of sorts, 150 experts and media professionals from around the world including Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Taiwan will be part of a global test-drive for Ford’s entry-level SUV EcoSport in Goa next month.
The reason. The car would be exclusively manufactured in India for right-hand drive markets as was in the case of its compact car Figo, paving the way for a global test-drive taking place in the country for the first time ever.
“We are hosting one of India’s most comprehensive and largest product ride and drive programmes with more than 150 participants from markets including India, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Taiwan and our dealer principals from across the country driving the Chennai-built EcoSport across two weeks,” said Joginder Singh, president and managing director, Ford India.
EcoSport will be Ford’s entry-level compact sports utility vehicle and compete directly with Renault Duster.
The utility vehicle segment has offered the only hope to the embattled domestic auto industry, which is struggling for growth.
The segment grew by over 50% in the last fiscal and is poised for another round of double-digit growth this year.
The US firm has been one of the first foreign automobile companies to set up shop in India but remains a fringe player with under 3% marketshare.
Its first small car Figo is the only notable mass market model in its portfolio.
“Before Figo, our sales were just 28,000 units per annum. Now it is over 100,000 units, said Singh.
The vehicle will be launched in India next month and will come with a 1 litre petrol and a 1.5-litre diesel engine.