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Ford’s affordable new SUV that could be coming to South Africa

Ford is planning to produce a new SUV at its factory in India, early design patents filed in the country have revealed.

This new crossover-esque Ford will be a replacement for the recently-discontinued EcoSport, in which case, the new vehicle is highly likely to come to South African showrooms once it’s eventually launched.

A welcome addition

Ford South Africa’s line-up saw a dramatic change last year when the EcoSport, one of its most affordable vehicles, was finally pulled from stores.

Introduced in 2013, the crossover was a popular option with motorists for nearly a decade but its outdated design and architecture ultimately led to the decision to cease global production at its various factories in 2022, including those in Romania, Brazil, and India.

However, surplus stock meant that the EcoSport hung around in local dealerships for roughly another year until the company officially delisted it in September 2023.

At around the same time, Ford launched the Puma, which is a far more premium vehicle that retails in South Africa for a minimum of R569,900, and is therefore not considered a replacement for the R311,400 EcoSport.

2017 Ford EcoSport

Ford’s decision to pull the plug on the EcoSport also meant it put its Indian factory in Chennai up for sale in 2021, but the company has since decided to hold onto the asset to produce cars for the sub-continent and other markets. The Times of India reports.

We are evidently now seeing the fruits of this decision, as the automaker has now filed a patent for a new SUV that could serve as a more affordable option below the Puma.

Naturally, there’s very little information on the car at this point, but a single image of a preliminary sketch has started circulating online showing what it may eventually look like.

Ford patent for a new SUV filed in India

Interestingly, the design looks quite similar to the Ford Territory that is launching in South Africa this year, though on a smaller scale.

Considering that the Territory is a mid-size SUV intended to plug the gap between the Puma and the Everest, a compact take on the design makes a lot of sense for the entry-level market.

Indian publications have reported that the unnamed model will take on the likes of the Kia Seltos, Hyundai Creta, Honda Elevate, Toyota Urban Cruiser, and Suzuki Grand Vitara, which would put its South African starting price somewhere around the R350,000 to R450,000 mark if it does eventually reach our shores, making it significantly cheaper than the Puma.

What’s important to keep in mind, though, is the global transition to electric vehicles (EVs), which Ford is also committing to with products like its all-electric Mustang Mach-E and the plug-in hybrid Ranger.

With this in mind, the new compact SUV, which will only appear closer to the end of the decade, is likely to feature some form of electrical assistance, which could end up raising its price by a substantial amount.

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