Ford EcoSport prices go up while Titanium variants lose kit

American car maker Ford, launched the EcoSport in India a couple of months ago and ever since, Ford dealerships have been deluged with bookings for this compact crossover. The cherry on the cake for the EcoSport was the price at which it was launched, which undercut its direct rival, the Renault Duster SUV, by a large margin. This price difference, along with a generous set of features drove prospective compact SUV, B+ segment hatchback and entry-level sedan buyers towards Ford showrooms. 

The inability of Ford India to service the stiff demand has meant that waiting periods for certain variants of the EcoSport hover between 8 to 12 months. Ford has also effected a price increase across EcoSport variants, citing rupee depreciation pressures. Notably, the Ford EcoSport's launch prices were termed to be "introductory" in nature and in that light, the latest price hikes don't come as too much of a surprise. 

While the price hikes for the EcoSport ranged between 25,000 rupees to 41,000 rupees, many prospective buyers across India including several Team-BHPians, who had booked the EcoSport before the price hike, were left a disappointed lot as Ford India did not price protect them. These buyers, with bookings prior to the price hike, faced two options,

1. To cancel their EcoSport bookings and take a further cut in the form of the cancellation charges levied by Ford dealers. 

2. To stomach the price hike. 

Ford India's approach towards its customers who have booked the EcoSport prior to the price increase is at odds to the strategy that Renault India and Tata Motors followed in similar situations. Both Renault and Tata Motors price protected customers who had booked the Duster and Nano before prices of both the models were increased. This price protection was seen by many buyers as a reward for their loyalty towards the Tata and Renault brands respectively. 

In the latest development surrounding the EcoSport sold in India, Ford has quietly deleted two notable features on the Titanium variant: keyless entry and push button start. These features have been omitted from the Titanium variants of the EcoSport sold with all three engine options. The two features continue to be offered on the Titanium Option Pack variant.

While Ford's move to delete these features on the Titanium variant of the EcoSport could have to do with the car maker trying to achieve a better sense of differentiation between the Titanium and Titanium (O) variants, this news comes as a double whammy to buyers who've booked the EcoSport in Titanium trim. Rumours also suggest that the variant realignment could have to do with the supply crunch that Ford India is said to be facing for specific variants of the EcoSport.  

Apart from grinning and bearing the considerable 40,000 rupee (minimum) price hike for the EcoSport Titanium, buyers will also have to contend with features being deleted, and this makes the price increase larger than before. At a time when the Renault Duster is available with minimal waiting periods and other car makers offer chunky discounts, Ford India's tactics might see the company losing a chunk of bookings from harried buyers. 

Update (14th September, 2013):

Ford India has written in stating that the Titanium models have been rationalized to enhance the distinction between the two trims (Titanium & Titanium Option Pack). The price difference between the two variants has increased by Rs. 15,000. 


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