Ford developing Maruti Baleno/Hyundai i20 competitor for 2020 launch


Dhruv Saxena, Mechanical engineer trying to find his place in the world of automobile journalism.

Ford is developing a new platform for the Indian market that will underpin an upcoming premium hatchback. The report by Autocar India states that the Ford premium hatchback will aim squarely at the Maruti Baleno and Hyundai Elite i20.

Ford premium hatchback B563 for India
The B563 platform will underpin a premium hatchback and a sedan that are scheduled to arrive in 2020.

According to the report, the new platform, codenamed B563, is a modified version of the B562 that underpins the Ford Figo and Ford Aspire. Ford India has decided against launching the new Fiesta or using its B299 platform as it proves too expensive for a price sensitive market. The B563 will help keep costs in check and enable Ford’s upcoming hatchback to carry a competitive price tag.

In July 2016, a report revealed that Ford had shelved plans to launch a Honda City rival based on a new B500 platform. This platform was to underpin and all-new compact car family targeting the Chinese car market majorly. However, with buyer trend shifting towards SUVs in China and globally, Ford decided to shelve the B500 project.

Alongside the new platform, Ford will also develop new engines to power its hatchback as the current 1.5 L DV5 diesel will find it hard to meet the stricter emission norms coming into effect in 2020. These norms will become even more stringent beyond 2023 once the Real Driving Emissions (RDE) test cycle is implemented in India. The new advanced ‘Dragon’ family of small capacity petrol engines will be manufactured in India for use in these upcoming products. In fact, the first engine from the Dragon family is expected to be a 1.5 L three cylinder petrol unit that will power the upcoming Ford EcoSport facelift.

Ford premium hatchback B563
The 1.5 L diesel that powers the Figo, Aspire and EcoSport will not power the upcoming hatchback as it reportedly does not meet the BSVI emission norms coming into effect in April 2020.

Ford India needs products in every segment to boost its share in the domestic market that stands at just 3%. The new B563 platform will underpin the Ford premium hatchback and a new sedan to rival the Honda City and Maruti Ciaz as well. The hatchback will be the first to arrive with a launch expected sometime in 2020.

Ford Fiesta – Image Gallery

[source – Autocar India]

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