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Old 10th September 2021, 13:33   #211
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Default Re: Ford to stop manufacturing cars in India

Indeed a sad news. But the Indian market has always been focused on more economical way rather than build, quality or power.

The Indian market new rose to the levels of seeing Ford vehicles in their true forms. It has always been low power and high economy mindset of the Indian buyers.
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Old 10th September 2021, 13:47   #212
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Anything that Ford did for India was met with reasonable success. Whatever they did only for themselves was rightly met with disdain by the customer. Unfortunately as with most Western manufacturers they do too little too late. They just do not have the conviction or the gumption to commit to the market.

Whatever success stories they have, they continue milking the models way past their expiration date rather than quickly building on the success and continually updating the cars comprehensively rather than tepid nose and bum jobs.

Their brand recognition in India tends to give these manufacturers a sense of entitlement. They need to clearly understand where this brand affection comes from :
1. Indian presence before 1960s.
2. Expatriate population
3. The owners who have owned their models since their re-entry.

#1 and #2 are miniscule populations. #1 is 5 decades back. Memories are dim and dying. In Kerala the Gulf expat population generally has a dim view of KIA and Hyundai. Toyota is really big among them. However Hyundai outsells Toyota in Kerala. So that is about the brand created by #2. It has an impact but does not overpower market realities.

Toyota entered India with the Qualis, a model specifically for India and South East Asian markets. Backed by legendary Toyota reliability it went on to pave the way for the Innova whose popularity is undiminished even though it's price resembles a multi-bagger on Dalal street. And the Qualis was pulled out at the height of it's popularity. All instructional lessons for the European and American car manufacturers in India. However you need to have the humility to listen, observe and adopt. Hyundai simply copied the successful elements of the then incumbent Maruti and offered alternatives to Maruti's weaknesses. Ford and the rest of the Western manufacturers are still too haughty in my view to realize and adopt this. At the end of the day what matters is how you cater to the whims and fancies of the local resident population.

#3 - is a mixed bag. While a lot of enthusiasts rightly rave about Fords it's an open secret that enthusiast never ensure the profitability or longevity of a car company. And in #3 the non-enthusiast community has not had a strong enough experience to win over more converts of the same genre.

KIA a next to unknown brand came in and swept up 10.7% in market share in just 2-3 years. Companies like Ford etc should perhaps study this to understand how it is done. Hyundai did it to them once and they were suckers to get it done to them a second time.

The Ikon, the Ford Fiesta, the Ecosport, the Figo line all sold decently. Unfortunately except for the Ikon the rest were all developed after a long litany of burning money with production lines and such which reduced the appetite of the Detroit bosses to invest money.

As GTO pointed out the less the competition the worse it is for the industry in India. It's a black flag day for us in the community for this reason and while Ford will be missed they only have themselves to blame for a lot of missteps in India. And more strength to a generation of Indians who view the level of commitment of Western manufacturers with a lot of suspicion.

Drive on,

Last edited by shibujp : 10th September 2021 at 13:53.
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Old 10th September 2021, 13:47   #213
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So a quick run-through on Ford Model Performance

Escort - Diesel was ok but the petrol was bad until the Zetec came - too little too late. Was so so, stop gap effort. Opel did make an impression with the Astra

Ikon - Brilliant effort but Ford should not have kept it for so long. It was very desirable. It should have been replaced by an updated Fiesta based model later

Fusion - Ahead of its time but wrongly positioned as an SUV

Mondeo - Very nice but dealers never promoted this model or supported it. Spares supply was the last nail in the coffin

Fiesta - This did reasonably well but Ford should have aggressively marketed it well.

Fiesta Saloon - It was not bad but it was ugly and expensive. It also aged badly, the ones that I spot look rather ragged

Endeavour - Not bad, never marketed that well also a bit cramped inside

Figo - a reasonable success although a little dated from the start. It should have been replaced a long time ago with a newer variant

Endeavour 2 - Could take the battle up to the Fortuner but marketing was lame

Figo2/Aspire/ Freestyle - The writing was on the wall - shrinking dealer network, confused range, lack lustre design flair, cheapened for India. We saw it coming and it was never on the shortlist

EcoSport - Great car but been around for too long. Ford should have launched a new model around now but lost the will and pulled out of Third World markets
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Old 10th September 2021, 13:51   #214
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I bought Ford Freestyle in 2018 and now will settle with this for few more years as it is fun to drive car. Hopefully, my car will become a vintage one after 2025 (optimistic ). I think next will be Skoda/VW and very soon we will be left with only Indian players like Maruti, Mahindra and Tata

Last edited by madhukarmohan : 10th September 2021 at 13:56. Reason: removed punctuation
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Old 10th September 2021, 13:57   #215
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Default Re: Ford to stop manufacturing cars in India

The spare parts & maintenance wouldn't be a problem for at least a decade for the popular models (mainly 1.5L diesel), I believe. But low sale engines, like the 2.0 Diesel in the present endeavour, or the 1.6 Petrol in the Fiesta S would have a hard time. The 3.2 Diesel wouldn't ever have a hard time, since it's an internationally popular engine. It's just that after a couple of years, the time for procuring parts would increase.
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Old 10th September 2021, 14:10   #216
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Very sad news indeed for me and all driving enthusiasts, for Ford India employees and dealers.

My first car is a Ford Figo first generation. Its been with me for more than 9 years now and have loved every drive of it. The cars drive-ability has been spot on and I am awe of how well it responds to anything I throw at it. Never have been in a situation where the car has behaved differently than expected. Even in the corners on highways I pushed it at speed and it never complained! I used to see other CSUVs slow down but my Figo never broke sweat and gave me confidence to take the turn without slowing down and that gave me a crazy adrenaline rush, something to live for.

While I have not owned/driven many cars, previous to owning the Figo, I had heard about how a owner of a Mitsubishi Lancer would never want to replace his car with other. Not sure how true it was, but now I understand what true drive-ability of a car is about.
Whenever I drive my Figo I feel its a a logical extension to my body (like arms and legs), it may sound weird but that was the kind of connect I have with the car. Comically, immediately after driving the car when I am walking and if I have to look behind I search for an OVRM only to realize I am out the car and need to turn my neck to look behind .

Over the years, whenever I thought of an upgrade from my Figo, I knew it would be definitely another Ford. So eagerly waited for some result out of the Mahindra Ford venture or a launch of Kuga like mid-SUV. I even called the dealership in desperation and vain, to complain that Ford does not have any car between the Ecosport and Endeavor :(

In the recent times, knowing Ford "may" exit soon I decided to replace my Figo with the Bolero Neo, but my heart was hoping against hope and felt maybe Ford could come out of the issues in India and whenever they make a 2.0 type comeback I will have the option to switch back based on their offerings.
Now with this news that hope is shattered and I now feel like I should keep my Figo for as long as possible, its driving experience may never come-up in this lifetime (know its a bit pessimistic). VW/Skoda, Honda, etc may also exit.

Sharing some pics of my Figo, my black beauty...
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Old 10th September 2021, 14:13   #217
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Indeed a sad moment for me and my family.. In fact Ford was a family wali feeling for us. Sharing some pictures, from my garage. In last 17 years of my association with the company, the company or dealers never let me down. (In fact I got the best after sales service in any industry -- Forget Car industry -- In these years, I have owned Mahindra, Honda, Mauti and Fiat also )Overall 3+ lakhs happy KM's with Ford and my optimistic mind says that, I can do another million KM with the blue oval. (I am not considering this an adieu. A company that really understands what an enthusiast wants .. ). Let's all hope that, when India is matured enough for Electric cars, they will re-enter our market with full strength.
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Old 10th September 2021, 14:25   #218
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I am an Ecosport owner and even though I have owned, driven other manufacturers' cars, nothing bought a smile to me like the Ecosport. Yes, Ford has a company had to be blamed for their India Strategy, but at least they never diluted on their quality. I know a person who works for a company that manufactures casting for brakes and their clients are almost all car makers here. He says that Ford's specification was always of higher standard and companies like MS, Hyundai and TATA used to ask them to produce only 50% of that quality (Breaks, mind you). They did India-spec Figo and Aspire, but they were ridiculed for that as well! We all know what an India spec car should be - look at MS. Cheap and Quality cannot go hand-in-hand. I applaud Ford for making sure the build quality of Ecosport was never compromised in all these years.

Another source told me that even M&M is bleeding a lot (at least in cars segment), but some political interference is keeping them in the market because if anything happens to them, it will reflect bad on Indian Manufacturing sector. In fact this was the reason why the new management at M&M decided against Ford JV, because their financial situation is not good either. This could be true because except for XUV500, nothing is selling for them too.

More than 40% in Tax, More than 100 rupees per litre of fuel, 5 years upfront insurance, very high toll charges that keeps increasing, frequent policy changes and every government looking this sector with contempt - it will not be a surprise that more companies giving up.
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Old 10th September 2021, 14:41   #219
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Default Re: Ford to stop manufacturing cars in India

Sigh! As an EcoSport owner, was hoping this wouldn’t have happened.

Ford was notorious for changing features as and when they pleased. I had a crazy time in 2019 when buying my EcoSport requiring multiple visits to the dealership, stock yard to get a right variant.

Blaming the tax rules etc will just be excuses. For the company which pioneered the sub-4m segment with EcoSport, just to sit on it for all these years without anything else meaningful on offer, shows they failed to read the market well. Right move would have been to bring one or two models above EcoSport instead of toying around with Figo variants. This would have also provided a clear upgrade path for early EcoSport owners.

About the car itself, EcoSport 1.5 AT that I own is a great car, just 2 years into ownership. Hoping that this exit doesn’t affect the service experience too much.
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Old 10th September 2021, 14:44   #220
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Default Re: Ford to stop manufacturing cars in India

I did call up Satyam Ford and enquired about any discounts on their existing inventory! He surprised me by telling me that he has Ecosport automatic variant, Figo automatic and even the Aspire automatic (in BS6) which was supposed to be launched but didn’t! Problem is should I go for a Ford car as this would be my first car. Any suggestions?

Back to thread, any brave souls call up Ford dealer and enquired about discounts?[/quote]
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Old 10th September 2021, 14:56   #221
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Default Re: Ford to stop manufacturing cars in India

Originally Posted by rsjagtap View Post
Indeed a sad news. But the Indian market has always been focused on more economical way rather than build, quality or power.

The Indian market new rose to the levels of seeing Ford vehicles in their true forms. It has always been low power and high economy mindset of the Indian buyers.
In western world people are also conscious about fuel economy just like in India, the middle class here is also focused on saving wherever possible. It's not like everyone is driving V8's here.

People do different recreational activities here and for that they need towing capability because they need to tow their trailers, campers, jet skis, boats and when moving homes a U-haul storage trailers. For that they need more power.

How many Indians own jet skis, boats, trailers? What will I do with a Ford 3.6 Eco-boost engine that has horrendous fuel economy but ample towing power? How many towing hitches do we sell in a year? The one size fits all model doesn't work, every market is different and require different products. You can't compare apples to oranges.
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Old 10th September 2021, 14:59   #222
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Default Re: Ford to stop manufacturing cars in India

Originally Posted by sid3091 View Post
Sorry, but a Live to drive sticker just doesn't belong on 99% Kia's and Hyundai's.
What kind of elitist motoring gate-keeping is this and why am I reading this on TeamBHP?

To that point, does it on a Ford then? Why are we mourning their exit like they took away their Fiesta ST and Focus RS and GT350.

There's no logic or scale to this line of thought. In that view, I could easily say the "Live to Drive" sticker doesn't belong on anything lesser than a BMW M2 Comp and scoff at anyone who calls themself an enthusiast and drives a Hyundai. I'd be wrong, but I totally could.

"Pfft, you don't even have a 992 GT3? What are you doing with that sticker then?! What a poser! That's a REAL driver's car, you know?"

Also, why would it belong on a Kia or Hyundai? Neither makes a hot hatch or performance sedan. They're mostly into mini/crossover SUVs. What kind of a "driving enthusiast" would drive an SUV anyway?!

The SUV gate-keepers meanwhile screaming, "No rigid axles, no locking diffs, NOT an SUV!"

Actually, let's all petition GTO to issue the "Live to Drive" sticker to the person who in the very least has an Octavia vRS lowered on Bilsteins and running at least a Stage 2 tune. A carbon fibre Recaro racing seat is a must too, after all you must feel every grit and pebble, every G as you change direction. Only then are you a true enthusiast and worthy of a "Live to Drive" sticker on your ride.

Fords will of course be pre accepted. A 2.3 tonne SUV with an in-line 4 turbo 2.0 L producing a whopping 167 BHP and 420 Nm of torque (that's a blazing hot 73 BHP per tonne!!) is obviously being driven by a super enthusiast who lives each day only to drive.

Author's Note: This post contains heavy sarcasm and edgy misdirection. If you read this and came away offended, I urge you to re-read because you clearly missed the point. offence.

Last edited by Singh101 : 10th September 2021 at 15:17. Reason: Warning sticker.
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Old 10th September 2021, 15:15   #223
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Default Re: Ford to stop manufacturing cars in India

Probably a bit sad, but not surprising at all. From a manufacturer point of view, its normal for them to cut the losses and concentrate on where the money is. Ford closed off its manufacturing operations in Australia a few years back and they even exited the small car/sedan space in their home country.

IMO, a graceful exit is much better than further diluting the brand with ‘made for India’ products.
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Old 10th September 2021, 15:53   #224
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Did a bit of googling around as to why post COVID-19 the auto industry is struggling. There are a few posts blaming policy as well. So here goes a list of reasons from my googling:
  • GST on cars is 28%, the highest slab. Also, there is a cess that goes all the way up to 22%, depending on body/engine size.
  • Jump from BS IV to VI. OEMs had to make significant design changes that needed high capital investments.
  • Insurance mandate of having third party cover to be paid upfront for three years PVs and 5 years for two-wheelers.
  • ABS and airbags were made mandatory.
  • Input costs increased significantly as prices of steel and other components spiked. OEMs had to resort to multiple price hikes.
  • There is a recent High Court order making 5-year bumper-to-bumper insurance mandatory if implemented will again increase on-road price.
  • Add to this the semiconductor shortage, which also results in rise of cost.
  • Further, the cost of shipping containers has gone through the roof. Shipping costs have increased and for OEMs who have not achieved 100% localization
  • All these result in low utilization of production capacities. IIRC Ford was utilizing less than 30% of its production capacity.
  • Lockdowns and low capacity utilization bring down revenues, but employee costs and other fixed costs cannot be avoided.
  • While OEMs with current ICE technology are suffering, Government is rolling incentives for EV technology. While this is laudable, the Auto Industry must survive in order to move into new tech. So the PLI for EVs and $8 bn scheme for auto sector to build electric and hydrogen fuel powered vehicles seem a bit misplaced.
All these have put OEMs in a jam. This confluence of perfect storm will wipe out those OEMs who are weak.

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Old 10th September 2021, 16:00   #225
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Default Re: Ford to stop manufacturing cars in India

As a former Ford owner, it is sad to see Ford exit India. When I bought the Figo 1.2 Titanium+ in 2016 I was actually surprised that it had features like Sync with voice commands, six airbags - things which even an i20 did not even have back then!!! There was no proper marketing or advertising for the Figo twins despite having some really good features and a brilliant diesel engine. Ford customer care was good and so was the service experience at the workshops.

Later, instead of naturally upgrading or continuing with the features, Ford chose to delete them!!! The Figo top end variant lost all its strong features, which instead were given in a rather silly Blu variant.

They should have seen the writing on the wall when the Figo facelift failed to boost sales and should have corrected it by re-introducing the features they had deleted. Sales tanked and the exit was only a matter of time. The Indian market and buyers are not responsible for Ford's poor state in India, they themselves are. They failed to evolve and upgrade their products in response to the competition.
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