Ford unveils the Figo, new small car for India

The U.S. automaker gets serious about the lucrative Indian car market with this latest model.

EMAIL  |   PRINT  |   SHARE  |   RSS
 
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all CNNMoney.com RSS FEEDS (close)
by Peter Valdes-Dapena, CNNMoney.com senior writer

2010_ford_figo.03.jpg
The Ford Figo will go on sale in 2010.

Find your next Car


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Ford Motor Company unveiled a new small car at a press conference in Delhi, India on Wednesday. The subcompact, which is called the Figo, will be produced in India for the Indian market, as well as for export to other Asian countries and Africa.

The Figo's launch "signals Ford's intention to compete in India's largest and most important small-car market segment," the Dearborn, Mich.-based automaker said in an announcement.

A little over 1 million passenger cars are sold in India each year, according to Ford spokesman Mark Schirmer. The automaker expects India to become the third largest market for small cars, behind the U.S. and China, by 2030.

India-based Tata Motors and Japan's Suzuki Motors are currently among the country's biggest-selling carmakers.

Ford (F, Fortune 500) has invested $500 million in its factory near Chennai, India, to prepare it for high-volume production of the Figo, the automaker said, doubling the plant's capacity to 200,000 units per year.

The Figo was designed and engineered in India, Ford said, but it's based on the existing small-car engineering platform that's already used for the Ford Fiesta.

Ford currently sells a version of the Fiesta in India, as well as three of its other car models. While all of these Ford models would be considered small cars in the U.S., they're each bigger than the Figo, which is about the size of a Honda Fit.

According to Ford, small cars like these makes up about 70% of the Indian car market. "[That's] where the meat of the Indian market is," Ford spokesman Mark Schirmer said of the Figo.

No additional details about the car -- such as what size engine it will use, its fuel economy or its price -- were revealed.

"We're confident that the new Ford Figo will be extremely attractive to Indian car buyers," said Michael Boneham, president and managing director, Ford India. "It's going to be very competitive with the current market leaders and offer a tremendous value story for our consumers. We believe Ford Figo is a big game-changer for Ford that will help transform our brand into a volume player in India."

The car represents a major shift in Ford's India strategy, the automaker said in its announcement. India will now become Ford's "regional center of excellence" for small car engineering and production.

For the past several years, Ford Motor Co. has been moving toward a global structure in which different facilities around the world become "centers of excellence" for different types of vehicles, responsible for engineering that is shared throughout the company. Australia, for instance, is a "center of excellence" for rear-wheel-drive cars, while U.S. engineers concentrate on trucks.

The Figo will go on sale in early 2010. Ford has not announced any plans to sell the car outside markets in Asia and Africa. To top of page

Features
They're hiring!These Fortune 100 employers have at least 350 openings each. What are they looking for in a new hire? More
If the Fortune 500 were a country...It would be the world's second-biggest economy. See how big companies' sales stack up against GDP over the past decade. More
Sponsored By:
More Galleries
America's most powerful cars A new 'horsepower war' has erupted among U.S. automakers and these are the most potent weapons in their arsenals. More
A sampling of beers being made with traditional Latin flavors A small but growing number of craft breweries are including passion fruit, Mexican cinnamon and other traditional Latin flavors. More
Bubble Trouble? 5 pricey stocks Talk of a stock market bubble is growing louder. These stocks are some of the priciest in the S&P 500. More
Worry about the hackers you don't know 
Crime syndicates and government organizations pose a much greater cyber threat than renegade hacker groups like Anonymous. Play
GE CEO: Bringing jobs back to the U.S. 
Jeff Immelt says the U.S. is a cost competitive market for advanced manufacturing and that GE is bringing jobs back from Mexico. Play
Hamster wheel and wedgie-powered transit 
Red Bull Creation challenges hackers and engineers to invent new modes of transportation. Play

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.