Car-boom! Ford to sell SUVs in India

So much for India’s rickshaw revival.

The Wall Street Journal reports,

Ford Motor Co. will unveil a new, compact sport-utility vehicle in New Delhi, India, this week that is designed to help the auto maker carve bigger inroads in one of the fastest growing auto markets in the world.

The small utility vehicle, called the EcoSport, will be built on the same underpinnings as the auto maker’s subcompact Ford Fiesta and likely will be sold first in Asia and South America. Pricing and availability of the vehicle have not been disclosed…

Though the EcoSport is only a subcompact SUV, wait until the Indians find out how terrific real SUVs are.

The WSJ goes on to report,

Ford hasn’t presented at the bi-annual New Delhi Auto Expo since 2006, but is making a big deal of it this year as the Indian market plays a key role in its goal of increasing its global sales to 8 million vehicles over the next decade…

The auto maker forecasts that between 60% and 70% of its growth over the next decade will come from Asian markets. By 2020, it expects one-third of its global sales will be from Asia, as opposed to about one-sixth today. It also is expanding in China, but it faces intense competition there. Ford also is further behind other auto makers in establishing its market presence in China.

Good for Ford. Good for India.

As Steve Milloy pointed out in his best-seller Green Hell, during the 2008 “green” tsunami that was sweeping the planet, rickshaws were making a comeback in India:

… In this city and the other quickly modernizing capitals of South Asia, governments have called the rickshaws backward, embarrassing symbols of the Third World.

Now, however, in a time of $7-a-gallon fuel in New Delhi and growing concerns about pollution, environmental activists and transportation experts are pushing back against rickshaw critics. And rickshaw cyclists are seizing the moment to tout the virtues of their trade…

An international nonprofit group, the Initiative for Transportation and Development Policy, challenged the ban in India’s Supreme Court this month, saying current economic and environmental conditions have made rickshaws more necessary than ever.

“We must save the cycle rickshaw drivers. Look at the soaring fuel price hikes,” said Nalin Sinha, program director for the group’s New Delhi office.

“These bikes are wonderful alternatives. They provide an affordable, smog-free choice,” Sinha said. “But unfortunately, when the whole world is talking about the environment, we in South Asia are talking about ‘development.’ We somehow think we are better if we have hordes of swanky cars”…

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