We have to hand it to Ford India for maintaining the suspense on its future products for over a year now.
Ever since they announced that 8 new cars have been lined up for a phased launch program over the next few years, rumor mills have been churning and every now and then we hear about a potential new Ford car heading to the Indian market. However there hasn't been a comprehensive or confident report on what these products or brands are.
Today we're analyzing what those 8 models can be. Remember that Ford India is not willing to release any teasers yet, but these following cars could well be the finalized product plan going by Ford's B-centric strategy.
1) Ford Fiesta sedan - Launched in mid-2011 (B299)
Evoking a poor response from C-Segment sedan buyers, Ford India have no choice but to advance the facelift operation if the Fiesta has to be brought back to life. The Fiesta facelift cannot improve the rear seat experience, but the other shortfalls that came to light from our Facebook reader opinion post such as the funny rear fascia and the dull interior can be fixed.
2) Ford EcoSport - 2013 (code - B515)
The exterior of the EcoSport was launched at the Delhi Auto Expo, and the fully-finished car was shown in Brazil and China on the same week, back in April. The EcoSport is Ford India's "game changer" and according to the company's new president is "more transformational than the Figo." The Blue Oval is "coming back in a big way" by launching the EcoSport, which will have a 1L turbo petrol, 1.5L petrol and 1.5L diesel engine on its menu. The EcoSport will have all trademark Ford technologies such as MyFord touch, SYNC, Powershift and Ecoboost.
3) Next generation Endeavour - Late 2013/Early 2014 (code - P375/U375)
The new Endeavour should be available in 2014, as the current model is starting to look and feel outdated. Ford is developing the new Endeavour (Everest in other parts of Asia) at the Ford Broadmeadows complex in Melbourne. The project is being led by Ford's SUV specialist and Ford's Chief program engineer Todd Hoevener. Hoevener developed the new Explorer, Ford's most advanced SUV in all its history, and he was deputed to lead the engineering and design team in Melbourne to develop the SUV top-hat on the new Ranger platform. The mechanical gear may not change completely but the interior, going by the Ranger's layout and plastics, will look and feel a bit sophisticated.
4) Ford Grand B-Max - 2014 (code - B516)
The B-Max will be the next big project on the B-Platform for Ford India. Mr. Joginder Singh, Ford India's newly appointed president said his task would be to implement the One Ford plan "in Indian conditions." Ford has to localize not only the components in a car, but the car itself to compete with local players. According to one highly placed source, Ford India studied the market for the launch of the 5-seat B-Max recently and concluded that it was "too small" for an MPV. The fix? Easy, elongate the wheelbase and toss in two jump seats at the back. Ford have a ready-made 7 seat MPV called C-Max at its disposal, but the problem with bringing it to India would be pricing as localizing the entire C-Platform to launch just one model would be a poor business idea.
5) Next generation Figo - 2015 (code - B562, 'Value B')
The Ford Figo is ready to go global. Already available in 35 global markets, the next generation Figo, currently under development in China and Brazil, the Figo would be Ford's sub-Fiesta global hatchback. The next generation Figo will have all of Ford's gadgets and technologies and we reckon this is the first model that will roll out of the Sanand plant in Gujarat. The Fiesta's 1.5L diesel engine should work nicely until a next generation diesel engine is ready. The 1L Ecoboost engine could be manufactured at the Sanand plant and both the engine and the car, with heavy localization, could be exported out to Asian, African and European markets.
6) Figo-based notchback - 2015 (code - B5xx)
Think Etios, Indigo and Swift. A sub-4m long sedan based on the all-new Figo is also in the skunk works of the Ford. The new Figo sedan has big shoes to fill as it replaces the Classic, which was previously the Fiesta, a true driver's car. The Figo-based sedan would join a bandwagon of sub-4m products such as the Swift Dzire, Honda Amaze, Verito compact sedan and the Up-based sedan.
7) Next generation Fiesta hatchback - 2016 (code - Bxxx)
If online media reports are to be believed, Ford has kick started the next generation Fiesta program in Cologne, Germany. Why wouldn't they, as the Fiesta was launched in 2008 and the lifecycle of any global car in the 21st century is no longer than 8 years. The Fiesta has to contend with next generation versions of the VW Polo (MQB-based), Hyundai i20 (code - IB) and Honda Jazz that are getting significantly better in all respects. For the Indian market, Ford would have built up scale on the B-Platform, and would have worked closely with the vendors in India to localize the core hardware and the soft components. This should allow them to launch the Fiesta hatch at a competitive price. By mid-decade, sales of the B+ segment would have grown multi-fold and with localization secured and a bigger market to explore, what can stop Ford from driving in the Fiesta?
8) Next generation Fiesta sedan - 2016 (code - Bxxx)
Similar to the Fiesta 5-door, the sedan has to replace the 4-door in the next 3-4 years as its shelf life expires. This could be the last model in this lot of cars planned for India. The four-door Fiesta needs to have better rear seat comfort. Ford may plan two wheelbases for this reason as customers in India and China (two unmissable markets for a compact family sedan) expect a rear AC vent, better seat cushion, a premium entertainment system and better leg room at the rear.
We believe the period between the mid-decade and the late-decade will see the launch of the Focus (in its next generation avatar), the Mondeo and halo cars such as the Mustang.
Do you know something we don't? Why don't you leave your clues in the comment box below!