American automaker, Ford has rolled out 1 millionth car – the Ford Freestyle – in the Indian market. Speaking to media, Anurag Mehrotra, President and managing director of Ford India reveals some details about Ford’s future plans in terms of product strategy and dealer network. The company has aggressive plans of producing right products for Indian market, and most of the new models will belong to UV category.
3 years ago the UVs contributed 8 percent of the total Indian auto sales, which now accounted for more than 16 percent. Ford India believes that the share for UVs will rise to 24 percent in the market in the next 3-4 years. In order to improve sales, Ford is also working on 2 all-new SUVs in collaboration with Mahindra.
We informed you earlier that Ford is planning a premium SUV, which will be slotted between the EcoSport and the Endeavour. This SUV will be based on the next-gen XUV500 platform. Adding to it, Ford will also utilise the SsangYong’s X100 platform to develop a small SUV for the Indian market. Not just platform sharing, Ford and Mahindra will also share their petrol and diesel engines. The American automaker will also launch the updated versions of Aspire, Figo and Endeavour before the end of this financial year. Read – Ford & Mahindra To Develop Creta Rival and 3 Sub-4 Meter SUVs
Coming back to the Ford Freestyle, this newly launched CUV has received positive response from car buyers. Petrol version accounted for a share of 65 per cent, which is quite impressive. Arvind Mehrotra also talks about the growing demand for automatic transmissions. He said that there is a shift from semi-automatic to full automatics after a certain price point in India. It is expected that the Ford Freestyle Automatic is also in the works, which could launch in near future. The Freestyle petrol version is likely to receive a torque convertor unit.
Besides new product launches, Ford is also working to improve its dealer network. In the last 12 months, the company has revamped its entire dealership network and has also rolled out Ford guest experience program to over 60% of its network. Arvind further said that the company’s new dealer management system is based on Lincoln premium brand of Ford globally. Also See – Ford’s Jeep Compass rival to use Mahindra XUV500 platform
In order to price product competitively, Ford is also aiming at increasing the localisation levels. For example, the Figo that was launched in 2010 comes with 65% of local components which now rose to 85%. What’s more interesting is that Tier II and Tier III cities accounted for more sales for Ford than the Tier IV cities. The company is also working on improving its network in semi-urban and rural India.