Ford Motor Co. has pulled the plug on its new compact car programme for emerging markets like India and China. The reason was attributed to the falling sales of Ford's mainstream models in the fastest growing economies like India and China.
The main manufacturing hubs for the new B500 platform were India and China and was supposed to start production in 2018. The B500 platform was supposed to be the future base for a new compact car, a premium sedan, and an SUV in emerging markets.
Ford was also supposed to build the new cars in Brazil, Thailand, and Russia, there is no confirmation on these countries as of now. The decision was conveyed to its suppliers in July which follows General Motors' decision to shelve the launch in India worth $5 billion range of compact vehicles.
Ford Motor Co. will concentrate on re-designing the EcoSport, Figo, and Figo Aspire in India in 2020-2021. The cost to upgrade the current manufacturing hubs to develop the new compact car based on B500 will be an additional cost to the company and could be one of the reasons for shelving the plan.
The B500 platform programme was an ambitious plan by Ford; however, it has been put on hold due to the decrease in demand for small and mid-sized hatchbacks in India and China. The current trend of SUVs and crossover which includes the hatchbacks and crossovers has led to the decision by Ford to shelve the plans.
Companies like Ford and GM are finding it hard in countries like India and China due to the strong competition from Japanese and South Korean car manufacturers. Recently, GM shut the manufacturing plant in Indonesia due to its low market share.