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by Tim Beissmann

The Ford EcoSport will get an overhaul in Europe in May as the company aims to turn around dismal sales of its Indian-built baby SUV.

Automotive News Europe reports an updated version of the sub-compact EcoSport will launch in Europe from May without the spare wheel mounted on its tailgate, giving it a more urban-friendly appearance.

A Ford spokesman told the publication the tailgate-mounted spare wheel would instead be offered as a no-cost option. There’s no word at this stage if the spare wheel will be replaced by a space saver or a tyre repair kit.

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The spokesman also said the updated Ford EcoSport would benefit from new interior plastics and suspension changes, with the Blue Oval hoping to “give it a bit more Fiesta personality” – referring to the brand’s top-selling car in Europe, and the one on which the EcoSport is based.

Ford Australia is currently looking into the reports of the EcoSport update to determine whether our version of the baby SUV is in line for a similar upgrade.

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EcoSport sales have been seriously underwhelming in Europe since its April launch. To the end of November, Ford sold 11,257 EcoSports throughout Europe, leaving it languishing a long way behind the segment-leading Renault Captur, which tallied 149,701 over the same period, the Peugeot 2008 (125,002) and the Opel Mokka (114,658).

European sales of sub-compact SUVs are tipped to almost double to 900,000 by 2017, making it a crucial segment for all manufacturers to get right.

The EcoSport has also failed to catch on in Australia. Ford sold 2200 here last year, giving it just a 2.7 per cent share of the 80,609-strong small SUV segment, despite the model having one of the sharpest starting prices – $20,790 before on-road costs – in its class.




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