• Ford has announced it will no longer build cars in India.
• This global decision could have a severe impact on the available line-up in SA.
• Wheels24 reader Muhammad Oumar shares a potential solution.
• For motoring news, go to News24/wheels
Ford has become the latest automaker to halt vehicle production in India, following General Motors in 2017, Harley-Davidson, and Toyota in 2020.
Earlier in September, Fin24 reported the automaker "will wind down an assembly plant in the western state of Gujarat by the fourth quarter, as well as vehicle and engine manufacturing plants in the southern city of Chennai by the second quarter of next year."
The report further stated: "Following the factory closures, Ford will import and sell some vehicles, including Mustang coupes, but the sale of models including the Figo, EcoSport and Endeavour will cease once existing inventory at dealers is sold."
LETTER | 'Wake up, Ford SA!' - reader calls on Blue Oval brand to not only rely on Ranger
The Ford Ranger bakkie is the brand's top-selling vehicle every month, but the EcoSport and Figo are its bestsellers in the passenger market, with more than 300-plus units sold on average.
Currently, South Africa gets its Ford EcoSport Ambiente model and Figo from India. So how will this affect the current line-up available here?
Ford South Africa says it is still currently assessing the situation and the way forward.
Which models do you think Ford should bring back to the local line-up in SA? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below, or email us here. Or, do you own a cool, older Ford vehicle you'd like us to feature on Wheels24, then please get in touch.
Wheels24 reader Muhammad Oumar raises some valid points and offers a solution to the dilemma, which might hit us a lot sooner than expected.
Oumar writes: "Recently Ford announced they would no longer produce cars in India. The Ford Figo and Ford EcoSport Ambiente are models that will be discontinued locally. The Trend and Titanium versions of the EcoSport are sourced from Romania.
Ford South Africa has not made its local strategy clear. All we know is that they will continue to produce the Ranger and Everest locally. The brand has neglected the passenger car market and has lost market share in South Africa. The company has now fallen behind Nissan, Hyundai and Suzuki. Previously Ford was the third best-selling brand in South Africa.
It is not sustainable for Ford to rely only on Ranger and Everest to bring in the numbers. These models have also fallen well behind the Hilux and Fortuner in terms of sales.
The company desperately needs to add more models to the local portfolio.
The Fiesta was recently facelifted in Europe. The hatchback market is still hugely popular in South Africa. Perhaps it's time for Ford to reintroduce the Ambiente spec Fiesta locally.
Secondly, it is only a matter of time for the EcoSport to be discontinued in Romania.Ford South Africa should take cognisance of this and launch its replacement locally. The Puma has been on sale for a couple of years now in Europe and Australia, and it is a vastly superior product to the ageing EcoSport. The Puma is also produced in Romania.
Lastly, Ford SA has no midsize car or SUV on sale. The new Focus and Kuga could fill that gap. Ford has a strong export business but desperately needs a strong import business, as does VWSA and Toyota SA.
Understandably the car market is going through a tough time, but having a competitive and diverse portfolio will help bring in more sales.