Bye Bye Blue Oval, we’ll miss you…

By Dhruv Behl | on October 17, 2021

There have been so many comparison tests, over the years, during which we’ve simply fallen in love with the Ford in the mix – everything from the Ikon and the Figo, Fiesta, Ecosport to the biggest and baddest of them all, the Endeavour! But, when it came time to announce a winner, the Ford always seemed to fall that little bit short – whether because of fewer features, sketchy build quality, fears over higher after-sales and service costs, or all of the above.
Eventually for me, however, the heart prevailed upon the head (as is often the case) and I succumbed to a purchase of a latest-gen Endeavour in 2016 – not without some trepidation mind you. However, 5 years, 75,000 kilometres, and several road trips later, I have to say that the ownership experience has been absolutely flawless. Running costs have been at par with the segment benchmark – the Fortuner – and, needless to say, the Ford has been a lot more fun to drive. Impeccable ride, handling and steering, after all, are Ford trademarks.

Plus, the Endeavour feels indestructible and is enormously capable. All told, it’s all the car you would ever need and more. Sadly, its days in India are numbered. Having pumped in $2.5 billion dollars into India and suffered accumulated losses of over $2 billion in the country, Ford headquarters at Dearborn, Michigan, have finally pulled the plug. For reference, a billion dollars is ₹7,500 crores in today’s money.

So, maybe you can’t blame them for throwing in the towel. But you can point fingers towards their inability to sort out after-sales until it was ostensibly too late; why they lost the lead in the compact SUV space after forging a path with the Ecosport; and why they couldn’t match the Koreans for tenacity, aggression and new model launches. Yup, it’s a tough market, yup, volumes are lower than expected and growth is muted, but that hasn’t stopped Hyundai and Kia from stealing a march. They took the bull by the horns, kept their ears to the ground and noses to the grindstone. Put simply, they listen to the market and leave no stone unturned. That’s how you take the fight to Maruti Suzuki. Sure, you can fault the projections, the conditions, and the priorities of Indian buyers, but gone are the days when ‘you can have any colour you want, as long as it's black.’

Now, it’s either give the people what they want, or there’s the door. It’s a harsh truth, learned the hard way – as the many Ford employees in India, now staring at an uncertain future, will tell you.

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Tags: Expert Auto Opinion Dhruv Behl

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