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Ford to ‘Focus’ on Indian market

US car major Ford Motor Corp has said that it will launch a range of small cars in India by 2015 to gain marketshare. Sumant Banerji reports. Passage to India

autos Updated: Apr 25, 2012 00:24 IST
Sumant Banerji

US car major Ford Motor Corp has said that it will launch a range of small cars in India by 2015 to gain marketshare.

The firm intends to develop a car smaller than its entry-level Figo, while it may also bring its premium hatchback Focus in the country. These will be part of at least six new cars that the company plans to bring to India by 2015 besides the compact SUV EcoSport that will be launched early next year.

"We are capable and willing to make and sell cars smaller and cheaper than the Figo," said Joe Hinrichs, president, Asia Pacific and Africa, Ford Motor Corporation. "Figo was not part of our global portfolio and we built it from scratch for India and other emerging markets. Its success has given us confidence and now I think we know what Indian http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2012/4/25_04_biz1.jpgconsumers want."

Ford India sold 92,748 units in 2011-12 that gave it a share of around 3.2% in the domestic market. Figo accounted for over 75% of the company’s total sales.
The firm believes its future products that will be concentrated on the voluminous small car segment, would help increase that share. It also said it may bring in premium hatchback Focus that has long been rumoured to be on its way to India.

“Personally, I think a car like Focus makes perfect sense in India,” he said. “The mindset of Indian consumers is that they wish to own a sedan as a mark of luxury. But that is witnessing a gradual change. People also want a more powerful but feature-rich hatchback that is more practical for city driving.”

Ford showcased a pre-production version of the compact SUV EcoSport at the Beijing Auto Show on Monday.

The vehicle is expected to go on sale in Brazil later this year and almost simultaneously in India and China early next year. While it will be offered only in a petrol engine in China, it will have a diesel version in India as well.

“Considering the high demand for diesel cars in India, we will offer a diesel engine on the SUV besides the 1-litre eco-boost petrol engine,” he said.

Ford is targeting a 50% increase in global sales to around 8 million units by 2015 and is banking on China and India to play bigger roles in it.

Already overall sales from the Asia Pacific region have grown from 12 million per year in 2000 to 31 million a year last year.

(The writer'’s travel and stay was sponsored by Ford Motor Corporation)