Ford is moving out globally harder than ever before. At India’s New Delhi Auto Expo, the American automaker unveiled the Ford EcoSport Crossover Concept. The fact it chose India of all places to debut such a vehicle demonstrates the increasing importance of the South Asian market. Even so, the EcoSport will be sold in 100 markets across the globe.
The Ford EcoSport Concept adopts the brand’s new Kinetic design language and features sharp lines and creases, a large octagonal grille and discreet headlights. It looks bold, to say the least, and despite being designated as a concept (and looking a bit like one), Ford says its new entry-level crossover could be in production in just as six months.
The concept is powered by a turbocharged 1.0-liter, three-cylinder Ecoboost patrol engine that produces 118 horsepower and 125 pound-feet of torque. In addition to featuring a compact turbocharger, the engine features twin variable camshaft timing. Turbo lag is said to be almost non-existent.
When it goes into production, the Ford EcoSport will be built in India and Brazil before going on sale all over the world. It is highly unlikely that it will be offered in North America.
China’s Geely Enters Brazil with Emgrand EC7 Sedan
“Os chineses estão chegando” — that’s what our counterparts in Brazil are probably saying after China’s Geely entered their country with the Emgrand EC7 sedan. Loosely translated, it means “the Chinese are coming.”
Here in North America, we have been saying that even before the financial crisis, but so far nothing has materialized…yet. Undeniably, Geely’s entry into Brazil is just part of the beginning of a broad expansion of Chinese automakers out from their uncertain home market into the rest of the world. No country, rich or poor, will be spared. They will be knocking on our door soon enough.
Emgrand is actually a more luxurious sub-brand of Geely. As one of its primary models, the EC7 — with its clean and modern look inside and out — is sold in 20 countries around the world and was the first Chinese-made car to pass the Euro-NCAP safety crash tests, having earned a respectable 4-star rating in 2011.
Brazil has one of the largest and fastest growing auto markets in the world. Factor in the country’s less stringent safety standards, and it’s a no-brainer why Geely and Emgrand want a piece of it.
Assembled in Uruguay, the Emgrand EC7 will be sold throughout South America, with Geely saying in a statement “The products assembled in the Uruguayan plant will principally serve the Brazilian and Argentinian markets, in accordance with the South American Common Market Agreement.”
The Uruguay plant has an annual capacity of around 20,000 units of four separate lines of vehicles, three of which will be built in the future: EC7, EC7-RV, GC2 and GX2 EC7, EC7-RV, GC2 and the GX2.
Hyundai HB20S For Brazil, Details and Pictures
Hyundai Motor has unveiled the HB20S for the Brazilian market. The tiny sedan completes the Korean automaker’s HB20 lineup, which includes the HB20 hatchback — named 2013 Brazilian Car of the Year — and the HB20X crossover.
The HB20S will likely be powered by the same three engines as the hatchback: 1.0L and 1.6L, with a manual gearbox and 1.6L, with automatic transmission.
The three HB family of cars are expected to further boost Hyundai’s presence in one of the world’s fastest growing markets.
Sales of the Hyundai HB20S will begin in April 2013.
Infiniti Coming to Brazil in 2014
Infiniti is now part of the latest batch of premium automakers heading to Brazil, having recently begun offering its vehicles in Singapore, Chile, Dominican Republic, South Africa and Australia.
Seeing that the Brazilian market is notably larger than all of the aforementioned markets, it is only natural that Infiniti would start pushing its wares in the region. The company will enter the market with its FX and JX SUVs and the next-generation G sedan, all three of which will be sold at two Infiniti Centers in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro in 2014.
“As part of Infiniti’s worldwide expansion, Brazil is a logical addition to our footprint for premium car owners,” said Johan de Nysschen, President of Infiniti. “By 2014, premium vehicles with a unique combination of inspired performance, attentive hospitality and unparalleled quality will become a reality for the Brazilian market. We are delighted to enter Brazil as we know discerning customers there are very receptive to premium brands.”
Rival Acura has also confirmed its intentions to enter the Brazilian market in 2015.