It feels like only last week I was interacting with the Ford India management at the 50,000th Figo celebration, and already the 100,000th celebration has concluded at the Chennai factory. Time flies. And so have Figos from dealerships outlets in India. The Figo has changed the way India sees Ford forever.
Before the launch of the Figo, Ford' high point was with the Fiesta (Fiesta Classic now) which people loved for its driving dynamics. The old Ikon and Endeavour were not doing serious numbers. The Fusion, despite being a unique product and practical in many ways, bombed in our market. Some blamed it on the pricing. Some said it wasn't marketed properly. The Mondeo, it has to be said, came way before its time to India and met with a premature end. Having suffered a few blows along the way, Ford was giving us the feeling that it was a sidelines manufacturer, content with just having a presence in India.
The Figo' arrival changed things almost overnight. Since its launch last year Ford has sold close to 80,000 Figos, a figure all its cars put together would take years otherwise to reach. Exports have commenced, and soon the Figo will be shipped to forty eight markets as far as the Caribbean islands. Every factory worker at the Maraimalainagar plant is excited.
Listen in to one of the reactions -
We will one day reach a situation where we will reach 10 million cars
The state of mind Ford is in now is positive one which is compulsory when you're launching products in segments where you haven't been all that successful. If the new Fiesta and Focus perform similar to the Figo, Ford would have then built a reputation of being able to sell well in any segment. That's a title a privileged few enjoy in India. The Figo's titanic success is a great launch pad, one would agree.
CHENNAI, India – Allusions to India's recent conquest in the Cricket World Cup 2011, recollection of a great year marked by the Figo's continued successes, and happy moments shared with great camaraderie on reaching yet another great milestone – the 100,000th Figo's rollout at the Chennai plant witnessed it all.
Ford's hot-selling compact – which has revived the fortunes of the Blue Oval and put it firmly among the top four auto manufacturers in country – celebrated the rolling out of its 100,000th unit at the Maraimalainagar plant recently. Body and Paint shops and Trim, Chassis and Final (TCF) teams celebrated the event during two days that saw senior managers praise the great work of plant employees.
At the Body Shop, employees joined Boneham to cut a ceremonial ribbon and mark the historic occasion. Boneham congratulated employees both on India's historic World Cup cricket win as well as rolling out the 100,000th Figo in such a short span of time. "We are proud of the great work you are doing and we hope you will carry on this enthusiasm to our other new products as well," he said.
Chackalackal urged the employees to continue their excellent safety record of 50 days without any First Time Occupational Visit (FTOV) incidents.
At the Paint Shop, colourful balloons marked the rollout of the historic Colorado Red Figo. Paint Shop General Manager Anand Misra congratulated employees on having reached the milestone, just 12 months of after the first Figo rolled off the line. He commended the reduced use of paint – from 134 to 47 litres per car, as well as lower power consumption rates. "These efforts show the boost in productivity as well as a commitment to greener manufacturing," he said.
Sathyan, General Manager of Material Planning & Logistics (MP& L) compared the rolling out of the 100,000th car to scoring the last winning run of the World Cup. "We will one day reach a situation where we will reach 10 million cars,” he said.
Balasundaram Radhakrishnan, vice president of Powertrain Operations, observed that while producing 100,000 cars is smart, to achieve this production with the lowest number of Things Gone Wrong (TGW) in the region is smarter – and that for the Figo to win the highest number of awards among any car ever in India was the smartest thing achieved thus far by Ford India employees.
The phenomenal Ford Figo, which celebrated the first anniversary of an extraordinary year in March, will be exported to Mexico and more than 50 other international markets this year. It has already been toasted as ‘The Most Awarded Indian Car of the Year Ever'.