We spoke to Glen D. Goold, Chief Engineer, B-Car Programs at the Geneva Motor Show and asked him about technologies, engineering, sourcing and the way forward.
As you may be aware, much of Ford India's eight-product mid-decade onslaught will be based around the B-Platform and for Ford cars to be bought in large volumes, a certain degree of localization in product attributes is necessary as seen with the launch of the Ford Figo, the Indian arm's game-changer.
Would Ford be able to remain faithful to the One Ford global plan while still addressing certain important local needs? Here's Goold telling us all about it.
IAB - With the C-Max, we saw a 'Grand' version which had an extra row of seats. Would we see something similar with the EcoSport?
Goold - The capability of the platform can do that. But at the moment, we're focusing on the B-Max size and the EcoSport size, but clearly anything is possible...extending platforms, in the C-car we've done it..it is possible.
IAB - Would you consider a seven seat B-Max in places where the B-Platform is localized? (like in India)
Goold - Anything is possible. At the moment we're focusing on launching the EcoSport, and the B-Max which has just launched, but possibilities are there. The C-Segment car is quite global as well, like in China, North and South America as well...And B (segment) is also in those regions, there is some commonality there as well. Anything is possible.
IAB - How far can you stretch the 1.0-liter Ecoboost engine?
Goold - I think only time will tell. At the moment, we've varied displacements with the non-turbocharged 65PS and 80PS and we've got the 100 and the 125 (in PS, Ecoboost). At the moment we're quite happy with the 125 PS. Our other (Ecoboost) engines are four-cylinder engines filling up the higher bands.
IAB - What are you going to do for the space under the Fiesta following the One Ford global plan?
Goold - We'll continue the Ka for a few years, and depending upon where the market goes the trend goes, we'll decide what to do in the future. The Ka sells well and we're happy with that.
IAB - What would be the challenge to build a car below the Fiesta?
Goold - The challenge would be to keep it funky. My personal view is the entry-level car is a college car, a young student car and we're going to have to keep it funky, trendy and fashionable. And like jeans and jacket, trends change everyday, every week. So designing a product that stays fresh for its lifecycle is going to be the challenge in the future.
IAB - What are the future features we can expect on the B-Max? Will they boil down from the bigger Fords?
Goold - For sure. On the new Fiesta, what we've done is we've taken City Safety, ESP, SYNC, big car features into a small car. I think we'll continue to see our global bookshelf of technology cascading into the smaller cars. Sharing technology and quicker deployment is what we'll see in the future.
IAB - Would we see a gentle level of regionalization, like for example extra wheelbase in countries like India where it is of paramount importance to have good rear seat comfort, in future products?
Goold - Its all got to do with scalability. We've an architecture in the B- and C-car, we can stretch it, adjust it, so scalability is there. So I think anything is possible. Rear legroom in markets like India and China is important and maybe that is something we'll look at in the future...to regionalize not a unique design but basically scale the design in certain markets. So we still get economies of scale, parts, but slightly different in floor panel length.
IAB - Will the Ecoboost engine for the European EcoSport be made in India?
Goold - At the moment we have two sites for Ecoboost - Cologne and Craiova. And at the moment that's the plan to get the engines from those two plants. If sales increase, we've more demand and footprint, we'll look at where we go off to next.