American auto major Ford plans to launch three models in India, including a sub 4 meter sedan, over the next nine months as it aims to consolidate position in the country.
Besides, the company is also looking to expand its sales network in the country by adding over 100 new outlets, primarily in tier III cities, by the end of next year. "By early next year, we plan to introduce three models. First to come would be compact sedan Figo Aspire, followed by the new Figo hatchback and premium sports utility vehicle Endeavour," Ford India President and Managing Director Nigel Harris told PTI.
With the launch of Figo Aspire, expected to be rolled out next month, Ford is looking to get into high growth compact sedan segment which is currently dominated by Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai, Honda Cars and Tata Motors. Ford is determined to make a mark despite fierce competition in the segment, which accounts for nearly 30,000-35,000 cars each month.
"There is room to do well in the segment," he said. Figo Aspire, which will come with various segment firsts including twin airbags as standard fitment across models, will be launched in both petrol and diesel trims. "While designed primarily for India, this is a global One Ford vehicle that lives up to our worldwide standards, offering more quality and advanced technologies than consumers would ever expect for the money," Harris said.
With sales of 1.1 million vehicles in 2014, compact cars' share was 45 per cent in the country's auto market in 2014. Ford expects the segment to grow to around 1.6 million units by 2018. When asked about the company's investment on the new product, Harris did not disclose the figure but said, the investment is part of the $1 billion the company has put in on the Sanand plant.
Elaborating on the product launches, he said, "After Figo Aspire, we plan to launch the new Figo hatchback. It will also be produced out from our Sanand plant. So after EcoSport, which still has more than 40 per cent market share in the SUV segment, we will have models in segments that are growing," Harris said.
Commenting on the sales network expansion, Harris said, "We currently have 341 outlets across the country and by the end of next year we plan to add 100 more dealerships, primarily in the tier-III towns."
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