Success for Ford in the India came a bit late. The Escorts, Mondeos and Fusions did not work well in the Indian market. True success came in the form of the Ford Figo which hit the sweet spot with the buyer.
The Ford Figo could run neck-to-neck with the competition from Maruti and Hyundai.
Unfortunately, the success was very short lived as Ford dropped the ball with the new Fiesta. Due to its price and a cramped rear seat, the new Fiesta just couldn’t convince the Indian buyers about its virtues.
However, the American automaker faces yet another do-or-die situation in the Indian market. Ford India is getting ready to launch the EcoSport in India by March 2013, according to our sources. The man entrusted with the job of launching the Ford EcoSport is Ford’s turnaround specialist Michael Boneham. This is his swan song as he will retire from his position of Managing Director of Ford India in December.
Michael Boneham and his team are burning the midnight oil to make sure the EcoSport gets everything right. The most challenging task of the launch will be to derail the Renault Duster that is now a common sight on the roads. Clearly, pricing will be the most important factor if success and EcoSport can be framed into a sentence.
Ford has modified the EcoSport to make it a sub-four meter product. As a result, it has to pay up only 12% excise duty instead of 24%. Ford has also opted for a 70% localization and would increase it over time.
Ford will launch the EcoSport in both petrol and diesel avatars on D-Day. The diesel EcoSport will automatically turn into the volume spinner. Ford believes that India will also appreciate the 1-liter EcoBoost petrol engine chiefly because of its fuel sipping qualities.
[can't see the video above? Head over to Youtube]
The EcoSport ‘needs’ to be a success for Ford India. The Figo has come under fire from the competition, the segment is over crowded and there are more B segment cars on their way. Ford India's domestic sales in the first seven months of this fiscal are down by 6%. The overall slowdown of the market is not helping either.
What do you think Ford should do to make sure that the EcoSport is a success in India?
[Image captured in Chennai by Subbu, video sent in from Pune by Rohan]