Photographer: Prashanth Vishwanathan/Bloomberg

Ford Brings New Diesel SUV to India Amid Anti-Pollution Scrutiny

  • Ford unveils the new Endeavour priced at 2.47 million rupees
  • Toyota dominates the premium SUV segment with 76% share

Ford Motor Co. will begin sales of its biggest and most expensive SUV model in India on Wednesday, handicapped by a ban on large diesel autos in the country’s capital and amid a shift by consumers to smaller and cheaper vehicles.

The seven-seater Endeavour SUV, which sports a 2.2-liter diesel engine in its base model, will start from 2.47 million rupees ($36,300), the company said at a press conference in Mumbai. India’s Supreme Court imposed a moratorium on diesel vehicles with engines larger than 2.0 liters through April in New Delhi in a bid to alleviate smog in the nation’s capital.

“With a line-up now stretching from the entry level Figo to the top of the range with the Endeavour, we have a product for every Indian customer,” Nigel Harris, president of Ford’s Indian unit, told reporters in Mumbai. “This will make our showrooms more appealing with the freshest, youngest products in India.”

Toyota Dominates

The model is Ford’s answer in India to Toyota Motor Corp.’s best-selling Fortuner. Despite staying largely unchanged for eight years, the Fortuner commands 76 percent of the so-called UV4 segment that includes models costing between 1.5 million rupees to 2.5 million rupees. Sales of all premium SUVs in India may reach 100,000 units by 2024 from 18,362 in 2015, according to Harris.

Hyundai Motor Co. and General Motors Co. have struggled to gain market share from Toyota despite introducing rival offerings in the UV4 segment, which has seen sales decline 16 percent in the nine months through December. Toyota has introduced an updated version of the Fortuner in Thailand and Indonesia, and may bring that to India.

SUVs are the fastest growing segment in the world, and will account for 29 percent of Ford’s global sales by 2020, compared with 23 percent now, Anurag Mehrotra, Ford India’s executive director for sales and marketing told reporters.

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