Air bag: Front Side Air Bag
Disability Equipped: Yes
Sub Model: XLT PREMIUM
Warranty: Vehicle has an existing warranty
Model: Transit Connect
Exterior Color: White
Glendale, Arizona, United States
"We certainly have that ability. We're studying it very, very closely." Those are the words of Jim Farley, global head of sales, marketing, service at Ford. The investigation Farley is referring to is the possibility of selling the company's new EcoSport crossover in America.
The diminutive Fiesta-based EcoSport was developed for emerging markets like Brazil and, more recently, China, but it apparently may have a future in the States, where it would form a new entry-level rung below the Escape in Ford's already robust crossover stable. Ford has big plans for its tiny CUV - Farley tells Automotive News that the EcoSport is only available in 10 countries right now, but by 2017, its distribution will have mushroomed to 62 countries. At the time the second-generation model launched at the 2012 Beijing Motor Show as a 2013 model, Ford said the EcoSport would eventually be sold in nearly 100 markets worldwide.
The Brazilian- and Indian-assembled EcoSport is available with a variety of gasoline-powered engines, but the 1.0-liter, three-cylinder EcoBoost giving 118 horsepower and 125 pound-feet of torque would seem to be the powertrain of choice for America, as it was recently confirmed for the stateside 2014 Fiesta.
Apparently sensibilities in India, at least in the case of some Ford marketing partners, are downright lascivious at times. Case in point are a new series of print ads, presumably touting the vast cargo capacity of the Ford Figo hatchback, that involve more than a whiff of T&A, S&M and other sexy abbreviations.
In all seriousness, the advertising campaign is taking some major heat in the Indian press for being outrageously sexist. All three images - which seem to be produced by a graphic artist with some Heavy Metal work in his/her portfolio - show bound and gagged people stuffed into the Figo's boot. With a tagline reads, "Leave Your Worries Behind." one version features a peace-sign throwing Silvio Berlusconi holding hostage three buxom and barely clad women, all wearing ball gags with hands and feet bound. Charming. Another version shows Paris Hilton similarly kidnapping a trio of Kardashians, while a third (tame in terms of the clothing at least), has Michael Schumacher toting Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso, and Lewis Hamilton.
Clearly in bad taste, at least, the Indian source also questions the timing of these risqué Ford ads, as the follow by days new anti-rape legislation passed by the Indian Parliament. Ford has responded in a statement, that it and its advertising partner (JWT India) "deeply regret" the ads, and claim that they "never should have happened."
As we reported earlier, the Chicago showing of this plucky Ford Fiesta ST GRC racer points to bigger and brighter days for Global RallyCross. For the upcoming season, you can expect to see Ken Block and Tanner Foust both driving the Ford racecar, and if last season's results are any indication, you can anticipate quite a few podium appearances, as well.
The Fiesta seen here was built by the Swedes at OlsbergsMSE, and will be driven in anger by Foust in 2013. Modifications are, as you'd expect, extensive, and include an engine, exhaust and braking upgrades, a racing style short-throw shifter and a limited-slip differential. As you can see, the car has been fully stripped out and caged for maximum speed and safety, too.
Refresh your memories with the details of the car, in the press releases below. And if you head out to the Chicago Auto Show this year, don't forget to drop by the Ford stand to have a look.