Ford will have a very exciting 2015 with three new products scheduled to be launched in the country. The American auto giant has the Figo hatchback replacement (Ford Ka internationally) and the Figo based sub 4-metre sedan in the pipeline that will be launched in the first half of the year, while the next generation Endeavour SUV will make its debut towards the end of 2015. One of the hottest contenders in the sub 4-metre sedan space, the Figo sedan was showcased as a concept earlier this year and is now set to be launched in the country in March 2015.
The Figo compact sedan will be true to the concept showcased earlier this year, albeit with changes to make the model production ready. The production spec model was showcased last month as the Ka+ in Brazil, the first market to get the entry-level sedan with Ford’s new 1.0-litre 3-cylinder ECOnectic flex-fuel engine that runs on petrol as well as ethanol. Ford is most likely to use a derivative of this very same engine India as well, that will also power the next generation Figo hatchback in the country.
The next generation Figo hatchback and compact sedan models will be produced at Ford’s upcoming plant in Sanand, Gujarat that has seen an investment of over $1 billion from the automaker. The plant will have an annual capacity of 2.5 lakh units, and production of the new compact vehicles is scheduled to commence in the next fiscal from 1st April, 2015. Ford intends to produce 800-900 vehicles per day or about 1.4-1.5 lakh units in the first year and can double its capacity based on the demand. The new facility is also strategically important as the company plans to make it a global export hub in the long term.
Ford already exports models like the current Figo and EcoSport to international markets and is planning to expand its exporting activities out of India by doubling the number of countries serviced from the current 50 to 100-120. Ford has clearly defined its long term strategy to be a multi-product car company that needs to build volumes and profitability to have sustainable business in the country and can no longer be a one product company. The new government also wants Ford to put the Sanand plant and India on the global manufacturing map for exporting vehicles.