CHENNAI, India— Ford India gave its customers a big surprise on Wednesday as it launched the all-new Ford EcoSport with prices starting at Rs. 559,000 (about US$9,300) ex-showroom, New Delhi. Following the announcement, which triggered an explosion of online and offline buzz, Ford India dealerships have been swarmed by visitors looking to experience, book and take home the eagerly awaited compact urban SUV.
At a banquet hall at New Delhi’s Taj Palace Hotel packed with members of the media, Joginder Singh, president and managing director of Ford India, called the launch of the country’s most highly anticipated SUV “historic” and a “significant step forward.”
“We want to raise the bar with the EcoSport, to set higher standards for the entire industry,” Singh said. “It is indeed a ‘dhamaka’ – a loud bang – on the automobile landscape, and we are confident that it will be a game-changer for us.” Compact, contemporary and capable, the all-new EcoSport epitomizes urban life and urbane aspirations such as practicality, efficiency, drivability, reliability and attractiveness in a compelling package.
Joining Singh on stage was Vinay Piparsania, executive director of Marketing, Sales and Service at Ford India. “Stylish, robust and dynamic, the fun-to-drive Ford EcoSport fuses ample versatility and a ‘can do’ attitude to appeal to a newer range of customers,” he said. “The EcoSport showcases both desirability and versatility, and brings a new sense of value and ingenuity to the Ford brand.”
The event, streamed live on the internet, culminated in loud applause from Ford’s manufacturing facility in Chennai, where employees congratulated each other and welcomed the EcoSport’s amazingly affordable price. The offices and canteen at the plant, which Ford recently expanded to support EcoSport production with a US$142 million investment, were bedecked with orange and white balloons to celebrate the launch.
News of the EcoSport’s price spread like wildfire, quickly receiving as many as 400 news clips across mainstream media within 24 hours. Headlines trumpeted the EcoSport’s “jaw-dropping price,” and expressed amazement at “an SUV under Rs 6 lakh,” that “stirs up compact market.”
Late on the evening of the EcoSport’s launch, the price announcement was still trending on Twitter, and customers flooded Facebook and blogs with their likes and comments. “EcoSport priced from 5.59 lakhs to 8.99 lakhs. Sweet! Best thing to have happened to automobile industry in recent time,” said one post.
In just two hours post the price reveal , dealerships across the country were reporting heavy visitor traffic as the EcoSport’s clever pricing attracted a wide range of customers – including some that wanted to explore alternative body styles – to make inquiries and bookings. At dealerships like Harpreet Motors, Delhi, MPL Ford, Chennai and Bhavna Ford, Mumbai, there was barely any room to stand.
Many Dealerships had invited customers to watch the launch livestream live and more than 80,000 views were soon achieved on the webcast.
Vighnesh, a software engineer with a leading IT firm had brought along his mother to test drive and book the SUV at a showroom in Chennai. “It was my long-time dream to own a SUV. With such a feature packed combo at a down-to-earth price, EcoSport has made it possible,” he said excitedly.
“We are seeing a tremendous reaction from the customers since the announcement, and our walk-ins, phone-ins and test-drives have gone unprecedented in just few hours,” said Michael Fernando, the showroom manager at MPL Ford’s Palikarnai showroom in Chennai. “This is awesome!”
Customers swarm MPL Ford’s dealership at Pallikarnai, Chennai to test drive and book the EcoSport.
A gorilla welcomes customers to test drive the EcoSport at Capital Ford, Bhubaneswar.