Geneva News: Ford ‘bandwidths’ to enable global production
The carmaker made the announcement at the Geneva motor show, where it showed its Fiesta-based EcoSport compact SUV, which is now on its way to Europe after having been originally developed purely for South America, India and China.
‘Four to five years ago we started to set up platforms to work anywhere around the world so that we could develop products for any region in any region,’ said Barb Samardzich, Ford’s vice-president of product development.
‘Then we began to develop what we called bandwidths for things like handling and steering that each region is able to be comfortable with if they decide to take the product. We started with the European dynamics and then did a lot of work to make sure we maintained the global Ford DNA for any market.’
Much of the work is influenced by market research and local preferences, said Ms Samardzich. ‘A good example would be tyres. In China they want summer tyres while in the United States the market demands tyres for the whole year round.
‘The EcoSport for Europe has unique tyres which meant we had to retune the damping, and we also put a lot of work into the craftsmanship of the interior and obviously had to ensure it meets local emissions regulations. But the structural integrity was there already because of the Fiesta.’
EcoSport is based on a stretched Fiesta platform and will initially be built in India for the European market, though depending on demand it could later be switched to the Valencia plant. It will be available with the 1.0-litre three-cylinder Ecoboost petrol turbo engine and a 1.5-litre four-cylinder TDCi turbodiesel. But there will also be a new addition to the Ecoboost family – a 110PS 1.5-litre unit about which Ford is saying very little at the moment.
The second-generation EcoSport is due to go on sale in Europe at the end of the year and will be available with all Ford’s connectivity features, including the recently announced Applink, which enables the voice activation of apps.