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Ford India currently exploring its future options after seeing negligible demands! Figo sells ONE unit in April 2021

Not only this, earlier this year, Ford also called-off the tie-up with Mahindra owing to the pandemic.

Ford India Private Limited began production in 1926 as a subsidiary of the Ford Motor Company of Canada but was forced to shut shop later as the company accumulated huge losses. It then re-entered the Indian scenes with a 50-50 partnership with Mahindra as Mahindra Ford India Limited (MFIL) in October 1995. This time around, the Indian subsidiary of the American giant was so positive about its prospects that it soon increased its interest to 72% in March 1998 and since that day, is known as Ford India Private Limited, again.

It is no secret that when the company was at its finest, it enjoyed big sales figures, but ever since the last decade, the numbers have seen a decline. This is a matter of concern as its sub-compact SUV, the EcoSport, has been raking in good figures, especially when it has its arch-rivals in the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza, Kia Sonet, Hyundai Venue, Tata Nexon and the likes.

Fast-forward to April 2021, a month which has once again resulted in negative figures for many automotive manufacturers, seems to be the worst for Ford India as the company managed to sell only a single unit of its Figo hatchback. April was so bad for Ford that just last month, that is in March, it sold 219 units of the hatchback, meaning it saw a 99.54% MoM decline in the demand for the Figo. However, the Ford Freestyle, a CUV based on the Figo, sold 635 units in April this year.

Now, this may come as a surprise to you, considering the Indian subsidiary is of an American giant, but the Blue Oval was never able to capitalize on the demands, the wants, and the likeness of the customers in India and its numbers for its various other models confirm the same. I mean sure the EcoSport literally sold like hotcakes but, there has been nothing other than that car quite so special. The old Fiesta, which was converted to Ford Classic, did sell in the past decade and the Endeavour showed signs of some amount of success as well. But, none of these were consistent and nowhere near when compared to the EcoSport.

As of right now, Ford India currently sells the Endeavour, Figo, EcoSport, Figo Aspire, and Freestyle models, but neither of those is raking in the numbers the company would’ve expected. As a result, as part of a transformation, Ford has brought in a chap named Steven Armstrong who has been appointed as a Transformation Officer for both, the Indian and South American markets.

“We have a lot of work to do as we continue to assess our capital allocations in the market,” Dianne Craig, President, Ford International Markets Group (IMG), wrote in an email referring to India. “While we expect to have an answer in the second half of this year, the appointment of Steven will help focus our efforts and speed up the process,” it read. Well, by the looks of it, Ford is certainly going nowhere and its plans are concrete evidence of the same.

According to Ford, India is an important market because it is also the source of powertrains for its Ranger mid-size pickup truck. With that aspect in mind, earlier this year, there were reports in the media stating Ford’s intentions of bringing its high-performance Ranger Raptor pickup to the Indian market but it hasn’t been confirmed yet.

Important to remind you that it was in late 2019 when Ford announced a tie-up with Mahindra in a move to cut production costs for emerging markets. That move saw the introduction of an idea of developing a mid-size SUV bearing the Ford badge which would’ve rivaled the likes of Hyundai Creta, Kia Seltos, Mahindra XUV500. The SUV was considered as an integral step taken by Ford to increase its market share but since the deal was called off in 2020, the plans of the SUV were too, axed.

However, recent updates hint at Ford still developing the SUV but this time, on its platform, named the Territory, which, surprisingly, is also the name used by its 7-seat SUV made for the Brazilian market. The architecture used by the upcoming SUV that will rival the likes of Tata Harrier, MG Hector, is larger than Mahindra’s W601 (XUV700) as well as will be cheaper since it has been jointly developed by Chinese carmaker Jiangling Motors Corporation (JMC).

Only time will tell whether Ford manages to salvage something and stay in India, but if that isn’t the case, even after being present in the country for 25 years now, it won’t be the only US carmaker to struggle in a market usually ruled by Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai. Roughly four years ago, GM too, decided to stop after failing to make an impact on the Indian buyers. We can only wish the Mustang-maker the best for its future in India.

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Chirag Khanna

I can look at the headlights of a car and can tell which car it is. I am an automobile and motorsports (specializes in F1) geek, for starters. For the main-course, I write.

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