Ford has admitted its next EcoSport could be more hatch and less SUV.
The blue oval brand's Australian president Graeme Whickman has said the early success of the Mazda CX-3 could change the way the booming 'baby SUV' segment evolves.
Ford was one of the first major brands to get involved in the segment when the EcoSport launched in 2013 but is now fighting with the likes of the Mitsubishi ASX, Honda HR-V, Holden Trax, Renault Captur, Nissan Qashqai and Juke as well as the Peugeot 2008 for sales.
Whickman acknowledges that each brand has come to the new part of the market with different offerings, with some 'small SUVs' and others 'tall hatchbacks', but none have yet to hit the sweet spot.
"Everybody is coming into the market and sucking and seeing," Whickman said.
"CX[-3] has come in and done a really nice job. That might be an interesting benchmark to think through in terms of what consumers are looking for. The Peugeots and other bits and bobs haven't really taken off. We're stabilizing what we're selling on a monthly basis.
"So we go through typical interactions of what future product will look like and we feed back what customers are looking for. But I wouldn't say there is any blinding piece of feedback I would put in front of you that says they are looking for X or desperate for Y."
According to the July sales figures, Ford has sold 1364 EcoSport this year behind the the ASX (6885), HR-V (6260), Qashqai (6218) and CX-3 (5535).
Asked if that suggested Ford would be looking at evolving the EcoSport into the same 'tall hatch' mould as the CX-3, Whickman was non-committal but said he would guided by the way the market moves as it grows.
"It's really like a B-crossover than a B-SUV," he said of the CX-3.
"I don't know. I would support what you said, which is that they are in more a crossover space than an SUV space, and there seems to be an interesting proliferation of crossovers and SUVs coming through and I'm not sure which is going to win frankly.
"You look at the Renault Captur, that's an interesting vehicle, in between a CX-3 and a Ford EcoSport. It is a growing market, it's evolving pretty quickly. We'll respond to consumers but we're in there with an SUV as it stands."