Focus on Ford
Ford has announced that it will bring eight cars to India by the middle of this decade starting with the Fiesta, which was introduced last year. Ford has reinstated that the Figo was the last region-specific or India-specific product it would ever develop and going forward there would only be international cars in their portfolio under the ‘One Ford’ strategy of unifying product lines across global markets.
This naturally means we can expect to see the global nameplates in India in the launches following in the next few years. Though Ford India has not divulged details on what these models are, in this edition of autoX we’re going to make some educated guesses and predict some of the future products!
Ford is rumored to be studying the Indian market for the launch of the Focus. The Focus is available as a hatch and sedan and the latter is the more lucrative option considering India is not a premium hatchback market and the Focus is a direct competitor to the Chevrolet Cruze, Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic globally. However, a few weeks ago, Ford announced the Focus for the ASEAN countries in an event held in Thailand wherethe car is expected to be lavishly equipped with features such as Active Park Assist, Active City Stop (collision detection system), Blind Spot Information System, Ford SYNC and Smart Keyless Entry with Power Start. Beside the long list of features the USP of the Focus would be its driver-centric performance and handling. We expect Ford India to begin testing the new Focus in a short while but there’s no concrete information on its launch time frame.
At the Beijing Auto Show in late April, Ford showcased the production model that was same as the concept shown at the Delhi Auto Expo with conventional headlights. The EcoSport is built on the Fiesta platform and will share the same diesel engine, while the petrol engine will be the 1-liter EcoBoost producing 120bhp of power. Ford India has said that it will launch this model in early 2013.
Next Generation Ford Endeavour
Ford is said to have made great progress on the next generation Endeavour and according to foreign media reports, Ford’s SUV specialist Todd Hoevener was drafted in to lead this project while most of the vehicle’s development is said to have been clocked at Ford Australia’s Broadmeddows facility. The new Endeavour sits on the new generation Ford Ranger platform (see picture) and could hold on to its current powertrains that include 2.5- and 3-liter diesel engines. Ford is preparing the new Endeavour with the aim of toppling the Toyota Fortuner from the leadership position. The model is likely to be revealed later this year or in 2013 and subsequently make it to India.
The Mondeo nameplate is likely to make a comeback into India during mid-decade as Ford has developed the latest avatar, shown at this year’s Detroit Motor Show as the American market Ford Fusion. The fifth generation Mondeo is a global model and the Ford is moving to the front lines with their latest product to wage a war with D-segment leaders like the Toyota Camry and the Honda Accord.
The Fusion is equipped with driver aids such as Blind Spot Information System, Active park assist, Adaptive cruise control and Lane Keeping System along with enhanced passive and active safety features while the design of the carshows heavy references to the Evos Concept. For the American market the car featuresan option of two EcoBoost engines – a 1.6 and a 2.0-litre – along with a 2.5-litre Duratec and two Hybrid options. Ford has announced that the Mondeo will be introduced next year in Asia and Europe, so we can probably expect Ford to bring the Mondeo to the 2014 Auto Expo. But that will certainly not happen before they can find a diesel engine to shoehorn under its bonnet, which is a de rigueur in the European version.
Ford is said to have taken note of the initial success of the Ertiga (31,000 bookings within a few weeks of its launch) and the number of players entering the fray with MPV models. Nissan will begin production of the Evalia that it showcased at the Expo during August to prepare it for release during the festival season while Chevrolet has been testing the Enjoy MPV - produced by its Chinese partner SAIC - across the length and breadth of the country. But Ford may be the last one to arrive with a stretched B-Max showcased recently in Europe to accommodate a third row of seats.Much however depends on the continued sales trends in the MPV segment and whether the Ertiga and others achieves sustained sales numbers over the next year or so.