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Old 22nd April 2014, 18:47   #1
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Default Ford India: The way forward!

Brilliant driving machines! That is what enthusiasts relate to Fords (the European ones i.e.).

In the last few years, Ford India has made products that have struck the right chord with the Indian customer. Case in point, the Ford Figo and Ford Ecosport. Figo sales are now coming down and only a refresh is in sight for now. Ecosport has pent-up demand but Ford are busy shipping off them to foreign shores (better margins!).

1. Capacity expansion:
1 year waiting periods are a thing of the past! Nobody expects that in the 21st century.

2. New products:
They have an excellent portfolio in Europe. Here in the UK, they sell the Ka (small hatch), Fiesta hatch, Focus, Kuga (SUV), Galaxy (MUV), Mondeo (large sedan). I am at loss to understand why Ford India will not bring in the Focus (in the guise of a Sedan), the Galaxy to compete with likes of Innova/Ertiga and the Kuga to fight the XUVs of this world! Also, the Fiesta hatch can come in an rival the i20s and the Swifts. I suppose the keyword here is 'intent'.

3. Import/Export balance:
The Ecosport is a sterling product marred by delivery because a significant percentage is shipped overseas or so I am told. Such was the buzz around the Ecosport that Renault was having sleepless nights. Now they can be at peace knowing fully well that Ford are unable to meet the local demand of Ecosport. Yes, exports bring in good margins but that's looking at the short-term picture. The long-term picture is to establish oneself as a serious player in the Indian four-wheeler market.

4. Improved A.S.S:
While I haven't heard any horror stories coming out the Ford A.S.S stable, it isn't sterling either like the Marutis and the Hyundais of this world.

5. Pricing:
The new Fiesta was never a bad product! The pricing ruined the chances of it selling in decent numbers. The lesson for Ford is never take the Indian customer for granted! The success of the Figo went to their head, it appears. They have made amends with the Ecosport. They cannot go wrong with the pricing of any new product that is launched in the near or distant future! Ford is not perceived as an expensive brand and they need to realize this and set it in stone!

Just wanted to put some thoughts together. Mods, please merge this thread if one of similar nature already exists.
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Old 22nd April 2014, 22:37   #2
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Default Re: Ford India: The way forward!

Ford India has been a very slow mover in India. Even the figo, remember, is only a slightly remodelled old fiesta. And now despite the huge demand for the Ecosport they are forced to mainly use their Indian capacity for exports. They have huge accumulated losses in India.

All this is understandable since Ford had been in very big financial trouble for most of the last 10-15 years, globally. And then the 2008 meltdown in the US, followed by the long European recession, and a poor position in China. Of late things are looking much better for Ford though they remain financially vulnerable if the global economy slows down again, as it most likely will. In any case they are investing heavily in new capacity in China and India, finally, because they now can.

So yeah, I guess we can look forward to more products from Ford though I doubt the European portfolio will work here at all, pricing-wise. Figo sedan? Figo-based MUV?
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Old 22nd April 2014, 22:47   #3
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Default Re: Ford India: The way forward!

I agree - Ford has been a slow mover. They could have done a lot more and gotten towards 10% market share with other models. Cutting the price of Ikon, then Classic was not very smart. It has left a sour taste in many.

Ecosport has a 6 month waiting period in BLR now. Only the 1 lite Ecoboost has 8 months. These were 12 - 18 months in Nov/Dec timeframe.

Ford A** is often mistaken to be pricey. Service costs are more-or-less at par with Hyundai. But its the parts of the spare parts thats are criminally expensive (not sure if they are cheaper now).
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Old 22nd April 2014, 22:53   #4
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Default Re: Ford India: The way forward!

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Originally Posted by Equus View Post
Ford A** is often mistaken to be pricey. Service costs are more-or-less at par with Hyundai. But its the parts of the spare parts thats are criminally expensive (not sure if they are cheaper now).
I don't think that's the case anymore. In the days of the Ikon, spares were prohibitively expensive. Not anymore. Ford India says they have achieved 95% localisation with most of their product line-up.
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Old 22nd April 2014, 23:36   #5
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Default Re: Ford India: The way forward!

Ford has had a very topsy turvy ride so far in our market. To be honest they never appear to me as a serious player or show any intent to prove me wrong. A company that lets competition go ahead without even trying to compete is sign that it is too lazy to be bothered. They had a decent run with the Fiesta classic and the Endy in the initial years. Even before that the Ikon used to be a decent car. And then they finally tasted success with the Figo and people started seriously acknowledging Ford as a car maker in the country. And how do they reciprocate and deliver on that trust?

The Figo has long lost the charm and is just dying a slow death over time.

The Fiesta classic is probably already dead and is just occupying showroom space ( even though it sells more than the newer avatar).

The new Fiesta was doomed from day 1 after those ridiculous pricing and only a proper transform can save it now. Point in support is it hardly ever figures out on a buyer's list even on TBHP.

The Endeavour is again being fighting a lost battle. Too old and boring now with no real sales happening.

Last but not the least they came out with a product that took the market head on and overnight managed to draw people into the showrooms. The Ecosport looked and felt new, exciting and VFM. So one would like to think that a company which is at the bottom of the list in almost all segments in competes in, would really build on the Ecosport's phenomenal success. But Ford has other ideas and is content with losing customers to competition.
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Old 23rd April 2014, 00:10   #6
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Default Re: Ford India: The way forward!

Quote:
Originally Posted by drmohitg View Post
A company that lets competition go ahead without even trying to compete is sign that it is too lazy to be bothered.
Is it 'laziness' or is it just a lack of financial ability on the part of Ford globally? Remember: it has only been a few years since they were forced to sell such great storied brands as Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo. Or that they escaped bankruptcy and a govt bailout in 2008-9 only by a whisker.

They're in much better shape now and so I guess they will be more convincing going forward once their second, Gujarat plant is ready. They have already improved on their earlier disrepute for service and spares' prices.
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Old 23rd April 2014, 00:19   #7
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Default Re: Ford India: The way forward!

Figo replacement (B562) is coming 2nd Quarter 2015. Ford is aiming high with this one - targeting annual production volumes of 300,000 + including exports from the new Plant coming up at Sanand, GJ. I feel 300K is extremely ambitious unless they offer it at a mouth watering price.
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Old 23rd April 2014, 02:36   #8
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Default Re: Ford India: The way forward!

Mod Note : There are several spelling & grammatical errors in your posts. This negatively affects the forum experience for other readers.

Kindly ensure that you proof-read your posts prior to submission. Also, it would be a good idea to use spell-checkers.

Last edited by GTO : 23rd April 2014 at 16:13.
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Old 23rd April 2014, 10:04   #9
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Default Re: Ford India: The way forward!

The intent is something that I am not very sure of Ford in the Indian market. Despite producing good cars, looks as if they are happy being a laggard. It's also evident in their dealerships - some would absolutely dazzle you while some are so pathetic that you would not want to step a foot in ever again! And Ford does nothing about it.

If they are serious; then they should have found out an answer by now. Hence, I am not sure if they are indeed even looking for a 'way forward'.
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Old 23rd April 2014, 10:19   #10
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Cool Re: Ford India: The way forward!

The best way forward for Ford in current context is to consolidate the products presently in the kitty, do away with the laggards, concentrate on increasing the sales of fast sellers, do away with the logistics part and plan ambitiously for the new launches. Its been quite some time since Ford has opened any new dealership/workshop which at one point was being inagurated left and right.

Ford India has been kind of training ground for most of the top managment, with none of them sticking for long. I guess this also affects the decision making when new products are launched.
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Old 23rd April 2014, 13:51   #11
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Default Re: Ford India: The way forward!

The problem with Ford is that they have just one car in every sector while Maruti and Hyundai spoil the customers for choice. Want sporty- get the Swift. Want more space- get Ritz. Want 'premium'- get the i20. Want a sedan for the conventional Indian Mentality junta- give them the Xcent.

Here is what Ford needs to do to get it right; sector-by-sector

A: Reposition the Figo from the i10-Ritz price range by maybe going the engine downsizing way or just making a 'loss of profit' by relaunching a cheaper variant. Look at how many Getz's Hyundai sold with the 1.1 litre Santro Epsilon engine. Get the 1.2 Petrol Figo down to the Alto K10-Santro category. Give the higher Figo a 1.5 Classic Petrol and market it in the way Fiat markets the 'Turbojet' variant . The Diesel doesnt need anything- it sells fine.

B: Get a new premium hatchback to replace the Figo! and get the Ikon back in the same segment with a 1.2 Figo engine on the cheaper Ikon variants, 1.5 Petrol on the higher variant and their bread & butter diesel engine too as that would make it an incredibly VFM car like the Swift Dzire Tour. Sedan with Boot + No Safety features + AC + PS + Diesel= VFM for high mileage customers . (I would have suggested the 1.0 Ecoboost Petrol too as an option for this car but the cost will put that car right out of contention) Want 'premium hatch'- get the Figo. Want a bare bones basic sedan for the typical Indian Mentality Junta- get the Ikon. Want Driving Pleasure- get the Petrol. Want VFM- get the Diesel!

C: Relaunch the Fiesta Classic with racing stripes, the 1.6S variant and make a huge hullaboo about their cars sharing the 'same dna and other jazz' with the Fiesta from the WRC in the same way Renault uses 'Red Bull Racing' to market their cars. It will bring in footfalls and then sell a lot of cars as the Classic is very VFM indeed. The Diesel is good. Doesnt sell much because it loses out on looks as compared to the other newer cars. But the racing stripes and other stuff should take care of that (to an extent- still wont be a bestseller unless they change the dated understated chassis)

D: Reposition and revampt the new Fiesta to the D segment giving it a price point in the range of the new Linea. 8ish around. Fit a spoiler, Matt black some cars do some 'drifting road shows' and make it look like a million bucks. Give it the bigger 2.0 Ecoboost if possible. Again use the Red Bull Racing Association technique here.

E: Get the Mondeo back. Same shape as before. And position it around the Cruze. It will sell in huge numbers. Definitely give it the 2.0 Ecoboost or dont launch it at all!

SUV 1: The Endy is gone as a premium SUV. Its got a truck chassis which is very uncomfortable (this from a guy who has Bolero with rigid leaf springs all around- but then I am in a different price bracket and am not a potential Endy customer). Relaunch the Endy in a proper 4x4 Avatar. Get rid of the epensive TCDi engine and use the good old DI engine you used earlier (and spend some money on it so that it meets the current Euro Norms. If that doesnt work for the Euro Norms go the LCCR way). God knows that we dont need 150 or 170 bhp on a truck chassis. All we need is a very strong torque curve to tackle the worst terrain, big oversized tyres, a snorkel, functional go-anywhere bits (like go fast bits racing stripes on the Classic) and proper 4x4 gear armed to the teeth. This will not only help the car sell to the genuine offroaders (10%) and but the other 90% poser's will also buy it and drive it around the city. Unfair I know but makes good business sense

SUV 2: Relaunch a new luxury SUV; No ladder on frame business here but the good old Monocoqque. Equip it with everything under the sun. Give it a 150/170 bhp TCDI motor and. Design it in a futuristic way like you did with the Ecosport and see the money rolling in.

Whose is left- the untroubled child?

Ecosport: Sit back; do nothing. Just work on getting the production ramped up. You have a winner there!

Last edited by rahul4321 : 23rd April 2014 at 14:15. Reason: addition
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Old 23rd April 2014, 14:17   #12
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Default Re: Ford India: The way forward!

To me, introducing an all new sedan above 15 lakhs today, will not make a business case. Period! Just take a look at the market, The Octavia, Elantra, Jetta, Corolla, Cruze are all competent in their own regard, but they are all struggling to touch the 400 units per month barrier. The Superb enjoys the lions share, selling 180-200 units a month in its segment. So I don't really think its worth investing so much in bringing the Focus sedan or the new Mondeo.

But that would build the brand, you may argue - in that case, Ford shall easily import the Mustang through the CBU route and park them in their sales outlets and steal the lime light with far less hassles and investment !
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Old 23rd April 2014, 16:12   #13
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Default Re: Ford India: The way forward!

In many ways, Ford & Chevrolet (India) have a lot in common. At any given point in time over the last decade, they've had one product bringing in a chunk of sales.

The Figo's pricing, launch & supply was brilliantly executed. In fact, that's the last time we saw brilliance at Ford India. Everything's been downhill thereafter. The new Fiesta was priced to fail and the EcoSport had everything going for it, except Ford's own (production & strategic) support.

This, at a time that Maruti & Hyundai go from strength to strength, while others (such as Honda) spring a surprise or two. Unless Ford brings back some order, focus & solid management, it could be going down the same road that Chevrolet finds itself on today.
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Old 23rd April 2014, 16:39   #14
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Default Re: Ford India: The way forward!

I am betting on the relaunched, facelifted new fiesta coming at a 'killer' price, what with economies of scale due to the high domestic and export volumes of the Ecosport, and very high localization of parts. It may still not 'kill' very much though, given our market's biases!
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Old 23rd April 2014, 17:28   #15
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Default Re: Ford India: The way forward!

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
In many ways, Ford & Chevrolet (India) have a lot in common. At any given point in time over the last decade, they've had one product bringing in a chunk of sales.

The Figo's pricing, launch & supply was brilliantly executed. In fact, that's the last time we saw brilliance at Ford India. Everything's been downhill thereafter. The new Fiesta was priced to fail and the EcoSport had everything going for it, except Ford's own (production & strategic) support.

This, at a time that Maruti & Hyundai go from strength to strength, while others (such as Honda) spring a surprise or two. Unless Ford brings back some order, focus & solid management, it could be going down the same road that Chevrolet finds itself on today.
Well said GTO! If I understand this correctly, Ford never tried to correct them. They have good products but their strategies and vision are their draw back. I see they never tried to correct their approach. For say, if they have learned some lessons, rather than correcting their stand, they applied the lessons on the new products

For example,

1. the spares of Ford Fiesta(now called as Classic) were very high and even today they have not corrected it. Two of my friends who use Fiestas told me to stay away from Fiesta only because of the maintenance costs). They got this problem rectified for Figo.

2. They did a disaster with pricing of New Fiesta and have corrected it with Ecosport.

But what is the end result? By the time they understand and act they are losing clients and business.
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