This is the Ford EcoSport’s daddy and India’s first compact SUV: Here’s why it flopped

Indian market is booming with the rise of the sub 4-metre compact SUVs. Rewind time by 13 years and Indian market was bustling with interesting cars. One of them was the Ford Fusion, the crossover that did wonders in the European market but failed to take off in India. The Fusion was available in the Indian market for almost six years, but at no point in time, it became popular. Why did a car that is similar to the modern age sub 4-metre compact SUVs fail? Let’s find out!

Not the right price


Ford launched the Fusion in India priced at Rs. 6.04 lakh for the petrol base variant and Rs. 6.98 lakh for the base diesel version. The price sensitive Indian market liked the vehicle until they saw the price tag. The big fat price tag that Fusion carried did not justify the looks of the car, and most people saw it as a grown-up hatchback.

Many other options in the C-Segment were available at this price point at that time. Maruti offered the Swift at that point and had Esteem in the same price segment as the Fusion. Other options like Ford Ikon and Hyundai Accent were also available at that time.

After-sales service


Ford was fairly young in the Indian market when the Fusion was launched. A major part of Indian car buyers have after-sales service in their mind, and Ford sales network was still expanding in India. With a limited number of service centres, the customers who wanted to buy the Fusion were sceptical about it.

The Ford spare parts were also regarded as costly, and it was mostly true in those times. Even though Ford promises to be the cheapest when it comes to after sales service at present, a couple of decades back, it was a different story for Ford.

Powerful engines that drank a lot


The Fusion came with a choice of powerful engines. There was a 1.6-litre Duratec petrol engine that produced a maximum of 100 Bhp and 143 Nm of peak torque. However, the fuel efficiency was a major concern here.The 16-valve, enthusiastic engine delivered only around 10 km/l, which the market did not like at all.  The diesel engine was a 1.4-litre Duratorq that churned out a maximum of 67 Bhp and 157 Nm of peak torque. The diesel engine returned around 17 km/l, but diesel was not a popular fuel option back then.

A big hatchback

The Fusion had 15-inch wheels, an imposing front profile but it failed to have an attention grabbing stance. The Fusion looked like a big hatchback than a crossover. The Indian market was still unaware of the compact SUVs or the crossovers. Ford successfully created the aggressive image of the compact SUVs years later with the EcoSport. But back then, the Fusion was considered as only a big hatchback.

Marketing strategy


The Fusion was one of the well-equipped cars in its time. The Fusion came with future-ready features like ABS, collapsible steering column, engine immobilizer, crumple zone and much more. The Maruti Swift was launched next year, and Maruti took blazing guns out to highlight the advanced safety features that the Swift offered. Ford, on the other hand, was publicising Fusion as a “no nonsense car”. If Ford had gone out saying that the Fusion is an enthusiast’s car with advanced safety features, it could have gained some points in the market.

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