Updated Ford EcoSport for Europe Arriving in May, Will Ditch Tailgate Spare Wheel

The India-built Ford EcoSport has failed to impress customers in Europe, despite being part of the fast-growing small SUV segment. Ford has only sold 11,257 EcoSport SUVs in Europe through November 2014 after launching the model in April, according to figures from JATO Dynamics.

That’s insignificant compared to its rivals. Renault Captur, the segment’s leader, had sales of 149,701 during the same period, while the Peugeot 2008, the No. 2 seller, had sales of 125,002. Opel sold 114,658 Mokkas, and the list continues not in Ford’s favor.

To fix that, the automaker has announced it will offer the EcoSport in Europe without the tailgate-mounted spare wheel starting in May. This will be an optional extra offered at no added cost. However, the EcoSport’s rear door will remain side-hinged, a solution that is neither practical, nor logical.

Obviously, ditching the spare wheel doesn’t solve all the EcoSport’s issues, which is why Ford will also add new interior plastics and suspension updates. “We want to give it a bit more Fiesta personality,” a Ford spokesman told Automotive News Europe. This obviously begs the question why they didn’t do that in the first place.

IHS Automotive forecasts that Ford will sell 20,239 EcoSport SUVs in Europe this year, significantly less than its original prediction of 36,000 sales. That’s all the more disappointing for Ford as European sales of subcompact SUVs are expected to grow to more than 900,000 by 2017 from 500,000 last year, boosted by new models such as the Fiat 500X. IHS predicts the Italian crossover will sell over 70,000 units, ranking fifth behind the Captur, 2008, Nissan Juke and Mokka.

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