Post the arrival of the EcoSport, Ford India has been on a roll. The company has posted its best ever sales thanks to the compact SUV which has been received tremendously well in the country. Post the success of the Figo, Ford had promised it would launch 8 new products by 2015. Currently only two new products have come – new Fiesta and EcoSport but there is no way the American manufacturer will be able to launch 6 new products in the next couple of years. A change at the top has also resulted in a change of plans for the company. Ford no longer wants to launch more cars but rather wants to make sure all its offerings are successful.
To make sure Ford tastes success with every model, the company has turned attention to cost of ownership and pricing. Thus localisation is the new mantra going forward. Everyone (including us) cribbed about the delay in launching the EcoSport but once the mind blowing prices were announced, all was forgiven and forgotten in a jiffy. When the company spoke about 8 new models, it always emphasised on the fact that the launches will be in the volume segment, more so in the small car space which accounts for a majority of sales in the sub-continent.
Ford plans to unveil a global product in India on the 3rd of February. The company hasn’t released any details except it’s a global compact car which will give a glimpse into Ford’s vision for the future in the compact car segment in emerging markets like India. This rules out the Endeavour which we were sure wasn’t going to be unveiled before the Auto Expo as the SUV is in a segment where volumes aren’t very high and the Endeavour is more relevant in other Asian markets where it is sold as a pickup. Not to forget, the Endeavour is brought in via the CKD route and not manufactured in India.
Since Ford is unveiling a compact car, it will be none other than the latest generation Ka (codename B562) which was showcased a few weeks back in Brazil, followed by Spain. But Ford says it’s a global reveal. This points to the vehicle being the Ka based compact sedan. 2014 is indeed the year of the compact sedan with the Hyundai Grand i10 based compact sedan and Tata Manza compact sedan both making their debut just before the Auto Expo.
Don’t get too excited as the launch of the Ka and Ka sedan will only happen in 2015 as Ford will take some time in aggressively localising the vehicle to reach a value for money price tag. Ford is likely to make India an export hub for the Ka, just like it did with the EcoSport (more than 380 variants are churned out by the Chennai facility). The Figo won’t be discontinued and as revealed earlier, the Figo and Ka will co-exist. The Figo will be re-positioned to take on smaller hatchbacks like the Hyundai i10, Chevrolet Beat, Maruti Wagon R while the Ka will rub shoulders with premium hatchbacks like the Maruti Swift, Hyundai i20 and Volkswagen Polo.
Since the Figo has been on sale for quite sometime now, Ford will benefit from the economies of scale and the company is likely to plonk in a new frugal petrol engine to boost the car’s appeal. The Ford Ka will be powered by a 1.5-litre diesel engine and the 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine, both of which already power the EcoSport. Ford is constructing a big manufacturing factory in Gujarat which is likely to churn out the Ka for all right-hand drive markets. The company will showcase the Fiesta hatchback and Fiesta facelift at the 2014 Auto Expo.