Go Back   Team-BHP > BHP India > The Indian Car Scene

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 25th May 2010, 09:55   #46
Team-BHP Support
benbsb29's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Brisbane
Posts: 8,387
Thanked: 4,471 Times

Originally Posted by zavegur View Post
I'm sorry that i beg to differ.
For me IKON was jus another American machiner. I respect it. but thats about it.

Passion? In Ford- sedan segment was always Mondeo for me!!
So thats that.

We Indians are just plain unlucky to be sold with mediocre/ plain machines when there are a plenty out there that can make us happy!!
While the Mondeo was a fantastic machine, for the thrills it offerred, there was a price tag which was way above what most commoners could afford.

On the other hand, the Ikon provided you an avenue to enjoy a part of those thrills with a much more affordable price tag to go with it.
benbsb29 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25th May 2010, 12:10   #47
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: -
Posts: 4,724
Thanked: 4,098 Times

Begin Your NXT life. The Ford Ikon NXT.

Name:  jan04_18.jpg
Views: 4482
Size:  57.1 KB

Oh! I am back from the astrologer's Bhavishyavaani and it seems really bright.
Really, it works.
Its time to send other cars running back and scurrying for cover.
Its time to send other cars in the junkyard.
Its time to stand up with respect.
And Welcome.
The New Ford Ikon NXT.
NXT looks.
NXT performance.
NXT ride and handling.
NXT interior.
Hundreds of NXT improvements.

Yes, I am back.
And please say hello to my NXT gen Josh Junior, the ikon 1.3 ROCAM.

My pichle janam ka rehasya told me to soften my level of insanity and be more customer focused and appeal to a wider audience.
I go to the sets of "sach ka saamna" and here he is, a person asking me,

"Did you solve the problems of poor interior quality?"
"Did you solve the problems of poor fuel consumption?"
"Did you solve the problems of harsh ride quality?"
"Did you solve other hundreds of niggling faults that plagued thousands of old ikonic machines?"

"If you have been good in your past life, its time to begin your next level of your new lease of life with the ikon NXT."
Hooter shoots, game over. I move on.

Fast Forward.
January, 2003.

I had developed quite a craze for travelling in the Delhi metro, which was just newly operational and had its line extended from Shahdara to rithala via Inder Lok, Delhi (the station I had to get down to go to moti nagar) and so, caught a blueline blus near my house and finally reached Shahdara after about half an hour of shuddering madness inside that tin can of insanity, driven by F1 driver wannabes, with my body already bearing the brunt of its worse than jeep ride quality on potholed roads.

I buy a ticket and board a crowded train in search of my NXT life. There you are, phat DU chicks travelling and people staring at them like...I mean you all know that its a one way love which never screams, just grows deeper.

Hoooo. Finally I reach Inderlok and board a DTC bus to moti nagar. Overcrowded, I travel on footboard and didn't even bother to purchase a 2 rupaiya ka ticket. I said-paas hai mere paas.
I get down at Moti nagar stand, horrified to see ticket checkers standing with a big mahindra marshal to catch any offenders.
Luckily, I get down and run straight inside to Harpreet Ford, moti nagar with a pass pass in my mouth for some refreshment to my ailing body.

Name:  jan04_3.jpg
Views: 3300
Size:  31.6 KB

I see the 1.6 and my first impression is-WOW! Man, that's serious business. I catch a then friend of mine working in sales and spent a good hour in learning about all the major improvements carried out by Ford in making the ikon a more reliable and refined car to drive with an emphasis in improving the overall quality and feel.
The car is launched initially in 3 variants:
  • The 1.3 CLXi, with an all new downsized 1.3 ROCAM rollifinger camshaft engine with 70 PS, up from the old archaic clattery pushroad operated 1.3 endura with 58 PS, billed as the josh junior.
  • The 1.6 ROCAM ZXI with 92 ps and improved refinement and consumption, the original josh machine.
  • The marathon runner, the 1.8D ZXI with improvements in driveability and mileage, 1.8 diesel with 60 bhp.
The SXI models are phased out, angering fans and purists, but to make amends, the whole front end of SXI is now carried over in the ZXI with that new front bumper with round clear lens fogs, mesh grill and airdam. The side repeater lights, turn indicators and taillights are all now white from amber, giving the car a more refined look.
Dynamically, the 1.6 and 1.8 get 14" wheels to improve handling without compromising in ride and stability, despite the shift to low pro 175/65 R14 tyres. The ikon now looks better balanced, mature and more complete.
The insides are completely transformed. The design is the same, but the colour scheme and material quality has taken a quantum leap.
While still a far cry from class topping interiors of accent and corsa, the interior colours used are a lighter shade of grey and beige, plastics are now softer to touch and the new velour upholstery feels more upmarket, conveying a rich and refined feel. Finally the ikon has got an interior it deserved worthy of its asking 6 lakh price tag.
The 1.3 too is fairly loaded save for a stereo, wheelcaps, LHS OSRVM and that mundane front bumper without fogs. Priced at a competitive 5.5 lakh, it is now a sensible choice in this segment considering the quantum of improvements carried out in the car.
The engines are tweaked for better mileage and suspension's spring and damper rates are now on the softer side to improve the ride without compromising on that legendary handling. Still no corsa-ride perfect, but improvements are immediately noticeable.
The major bugbear-high maintenance costs and subpar dealer service remains though some improvements are on track, as claimed by Ford.
As a product, the ikon is better not only on paper, but also on the road as its behaviour and feel is more matured and refined. A set of 6 new colours round off the palette of this ikonic sedan.

All this results in sales rebound and the NXT works wonders for ford. Demand skyrockets and the car sells like hot cakes. No wonder that Hyundai's accentuated appliance pales in comparison.

Reaction time.
Hyundai gives its accent its first major nip and tuck in 4 years that september and rejigs the entire model lineup.The 1.5 GLS and GLX are discontinued and replaced by 1.6 GLS. the 1.5 GLE gets more features and is renamed as GVS.
The tornado gets a new set of 6 spoke alloys, B pillar window blackout, chrome side mouldings with a thicker shape and a new interior upholstery, taking it into another class together.
All models get new amber lensed headlights, new crystal clear taillights, new crystal HMSL, new interior trims and a new waistline moulding. GLS gains body coloured OSRVM, door handles and ABS. CRDI still does without these frills, otherwise identical to GLS in terms of equipment.
GVS gains a defogger, wider tyres with full wheel covers and an HMSL earlier absent in GLE.
So the lineup includes 1.5 GLE, 1.6 GLS, 1.6 Tornado and 1.5 CRDi. The 5 door viva, introduced some months back, is a different car altogether.

Fiat's siena sales tank off, production stops and by 2003 end, the car is sold at a massive price cut starting from just 3.99 lakhs to 4.79 lakhs for the 1.6 ELX.
Earlier that year, I finally get a glimpse of a maestro at Sanmati motors when a hazel grey coloured car comes for delivery. The siena maestro is probably the rarest car that I have ever seen, the other two being one black shaded at vivek, and other a customer bought at dynamic noida, which was an erstwhile fiat dealer that time.
That was a flame red maestro SP.

For 2003, the corsa gets further improvements with new rear seat design, new interiors for the royale and new model lineup.
The 1.4 GL and GLS are discontinued and replaced with one model-the 1.4 GSI. The 1.6 GSI gets some small added features and is replaced with a 1.6 GLS. All models get new interior upholstery in a lighter shade of grey.
Sales are flat yet consistent.

Maruti silently launches its esteem diesel, initially at southern markets and then in rest of India at a phased manner with peugeot's TUD5 engine in D and DI variants. The car's sales are below average, at best, especially in comparison after a car launch sents shock waves in the lower mid size segment and starts of a price war. Clearly, it wants to spoil the competition by telling us:


Yes, after playing VFM card with the Indica, Tata delivers another smack in the face of competition by launching its 3 box derivative-the Indigo.
Launched in both 1.4 85 bhp petrol and 1.4 65 bhp TD diesel variants, they are priced between a shock 4.28 to 5.25 lakhs respectively for the 5 variants-the GL, GLE and GLX for petrol, and LS and LX for the diesel respectively. Poor QC, fit, finish and niggles be damned, it is priced even cheaper than the esteem and finds hordes of takers, especially for the LS diesel variant which is now a common sight.
Its combination of diesel running costs and outstanding backseat comfort being its prime virtues. As compared to the Indica, it dives considerably better and feels more upmarket and refined. For its first 15 months, the diesel indigo sells without a single penny discount and some dealers sell cars at a premium! A USP of this car is its class only independent 3 link rear suspension system, for optimum ride and stability. Winner on paper, yes, but still falls short of the superb ride of the siena and corsa.

The year end mark's ford's yet another special edition launch of the ikon-the 1.3 NXT Finesse which gains leather seat covers, alloys, spoiler and an anti theft system. Gimmikery, to say the least.
Maruti too launches its special edition called esteem velocity with so called "stylish steel wheels", spoiler, window blackouts and metallic finished interiors.

Name:  jan04_2.jpg
Views: 2788
Size:  35.2 KB

However, that year will see the launch of a radical car that is not only cheaper than its predecessor, but promises not only to shock the competition, but also rock the entire Indian automobile industry to its core and completely turn the market upside down.


Yes, it will leave you speechless...

But before you and I get speechless, take a lunchtime break, relax, hang out and return full of josh as the midsize sedan war gets bitter and more cut throat, all which be covered in the next part....

(pics of ikon NXT courtesy BS motoring archives)
sidindica is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25th May 2010, 12:52   #48
Senior - BHPian
1100D's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Calcutta
Posts: 4,253
Thanked: 2,751 Times

Originally Posted by sidindica View Post
Begin Your NXT life. The Ford Ikon NXT.

Fast Forward.

January, 2003.

The SXI models are phased out, angering fans and purists, but to make amends, the whole front end of SXI is now carried over in the ZXI with that new front bumper with round clear lens fogs, mesh grill and airdam. The side repeater lights, turn indicators and taillights are all now white from amber, giving the car a more refined look.

Dynamically, the 1.6 and 1.8 get 14" wheels to improve handling without compromising in ride and stability, despite the shift to low pro 175/65 R14 tyres.
The SXI continued on the NXT till August 2004, with the 14" 7-spoke alloys and the chrome grille and body coloured bumper protectors. It was available in 3 shades, Panther Black, Silver and Oyster. I know this as my Ikon purchase process began then, I was scheduled to buy a Ikon 1.6 SXi NXT however someone from a then competing dealership informed me that soon the SXi will be phased out and a new range will come up, in which ZXi at the prevailing ZXi prices (or a bit less) will come with all SXi features.

Hence on the 10th of September 2004, I got my 1.6 NXT ZXi with all the bells and whistles of the SXi plus a CD player as standard. The Bumper protector was matte black though.
1100D is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th May 2010, 12:00   #49
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: -
Posts: 4,724
Thanked: 4,098 Times

The ikonic wars continue as an unbelievable new city leaves the public speechless.

Name:  i3192.jpg
Views: 3054
Size:  108.7 KB
2003 was a dream year for Honda. Its comeback model, the new 2003 accord and CR-V were selling briskly and quickly became segment bestsellers, but a new, third blockbuster was in the making. Perhaps a major one at that.

October 30, 2003.
The covers are lifted off the all new second generation ASEAN Honda City, built on Honda's global small car platform shared with the jazz. Radical styling, premium interiors and I-DSI technology was something that our country had never experienced before.
To top it off, the car's departure from its predecessor from being a driver focused one into a family oriented commuter appealed to a wider audience, driving enthusiasts were heavily disappointed.
The car's price was dropped, a segment lower and at a price range of 6,47,000-7,50,000, it became an overnight blockbuster despite its so called terms used by people like alien looks, drives as dull as a washing machine with its underpowered engine etc.
The car's all round combination of sleek modern design, outstanding space management, best in class mileage, segment best rear seat comfort and interior quality and easy to drive nature made it such a hit that the Indian public couldn't have enough of it. And the demand even took Honda by surprise and wait periods stretched as long as 4 months, especially for the CVT which was in good demand for city commuters.

Driven by an electrically assisted steering, it handled sloppily and was regarded as quite a disappointment. Powered by a 1.5L I-DSI engine with just 77 bhp, competition made a heavy mockery of it and even to that extent, it turned out to be an ugly war of words between Honda (City) and Hyundai (accent) that Honda dragged Hyundai to MRTPC court for misrepresentation of facts in public. Of course, Ford too was pissed off and started callng its ikon as a distinctive looking sedan with a hint of josh unlike the city and indigo which are just boots stuck at the back of hatchbacks like an afterthought...as if ford didn't knew that it too did the same thing. talk about having your own cake and eating it too, even if it is not baked properly.

Fiat's siena is now history. In just over two years, the product flopped and it was pulled out of the market. Fiat was in dire straights. It then decided to go to jyotish vidya kendra and ask for suggestions. They told them-go for a name change.
Time for a new namkaran sanskaar.
Bye Bye Siena, welcome the new Fiat Petra, in the centre of gravity.
Launched in only one basic decently loaded variant silently, it is priced at a shockingly low 4,75,000 for a 1.6 powered sedan. Just 4 colours are offered.
After 6 months, a 1.9 diesel version of the car is also offered, albeit high priced at 5,72,000-6,35,000 for the EL and ELX respectively. The car sells in miniscule numbers, with majority of sales coming from the south.

July 2004 also marks the second major face lift of the esteem (first one done in 1998) and maruti cuts the price by Rs. 50,000 and this again restarts the price war in the segment. It gets a new front and rear botox treat ment and new interior fabrics. Fall in love again, perhaps?
Sales pick up again.

Name:  i4671.jpg
Views: 6719
Size:  69.1 KB

Ford is not sitting quietly. its sales are under threat, and after a gap of 15 months, Ford again relaunches the SXI model of the ikon, albeit this time it is more mild to look at it. It gets an audio CD player, alloys inspired from the mondeo, mesh grill and full body coloured bumpers. ZXI gets a price cut by Rs. 20,000 and features like the audio and moulded door pads are deleted. sales remain in 1500-1700 unit levels per month.
Ford's limited edition gimmicks continued when it launched a limits edition 1.3 "anniversary" version of the ikon to commemorate 5 years of the product.

Name:  i4669.jpg
Views: 2990
Size:  65.4 KB

Hyundai also does a ford by dropping the base model accent GVS's price by a whopping rs. 60,000 and the new variant is named as the GLE. Only fog lamps are deleted. Priced at 5,05,505, it too joins the new price war.

The indigo continues to rake in numbers and virtually enjoys a monopoly in the diesel sedan segment, its low purchase price being a major contributor here.

2004 passes by without much changes to the corsa, too which just gains beige interiors to keep its sagging sales afloat as GM is now fully concentrating on establishing its Chevrolet brand, fresh from the success of optra and tavera.

F(l)air value

Mid 2004 saw a major shift in engine manufacturing location when the 1.3 rocam engine's production was shifted from South Africa to HM's engine manufacturing plant at Pithampur, Indore. This resulted in huge cost savings not only to Ford, but also to end customer. The 1.3 EXI was renamed as 1.3 flair an its price was dropped by a whopping Rs. 55,000, now priced at a cut throat Rs. 4,75,000.

Another surprise came when Maruti started playing games with its Baleno and dropped prices to blow 6 lakh mark for the first time ever. Introduction of an stripped down LXI model at 5.5 lakh only reinforced the burning price inferno by adding more and more ghee to it..suddenly sales stated picking up stream.

Later in 2004 Ford did a major rejigging in the ikon lineup with more price crashes than ever before.
The ZXI was replaced by EXi and the SXI was renamed as ZXi, the standard features remaining more or less the same. The variants were:
  • 1.3 flair at 4.49 lakhs, the new hot selling junior josh machine.
  • 1.6 EXI
  • 1.6 ZXI
  • 1.8D EXI
  • 1.8D ZXI.
2005 saw the advent of Euro 3 norms and some casualties as a result.
The esteem diesel was phased out prematurely.
Only the LX, LXI and VXI models remained. Sales remain flat.

The Indigo was heavily upgraded with a 32 bit ECU for petrol and an electrically controlled fuel pump with the addition of an intercooler for the TDI. Power was up by 70 bhp and this dramatically improved the drive ability. Reliability remained questionable though.
Variants continued to be GLE, GLX, GLX, LS and LX.The segment bestseller became in better and sold better.

Hyundai too upgraded all three of its motors, and upgraded all accent models with beige interiors for the first time ever. The tornado was another casualty of falling sales, it was dropped.
To keep prices competitive, ABS was now optional in 1.6 GLS and 1.6 Viva petrol models.
The lineup remained like:
  • 1.5 GLE
  • 1.6 GLS (ABS optional)
  • 1.5 CRDi
  • 1.6 Viva (ABS optional)
  • 1.5 Viva Crdi, which was a good seller for Hyundai.
Honda's city continued to remain higher segment bestseller with 3 month wait period now coming down to 1.5-2, as Honda expanded the plant capacity by 20 percent.
The GXi was the best seller, EXI remained second and CVT a decent third.

The zinda laash fiat petra still existed at very few cities across the country as prices were jacked up big time and some variant mix and match was done. Both petrol and diesel now had EL as the basic entry level model, and ELX as the top end. But it was too late. not only petra, but Fiat was also dying a slow death as its plant was heavily damaged in floods and never commenced production. Fiat's midsize sedan is now another forgotten chapter in history books as it becomes extinct in 2006.

2005 is also the final year for opel corsa. Despite two relaunches of limited edition corsa 1.4 elite and 1.6 design edition corsa royale, the public rejects it and sales are dwindling....meanwhile something is in horizon....

Name:  i15912.jpg
Views: 3844
Size:  108.9 KB

With the corsa soon to become another forgotten chapter in history books, the focus now shifts, to a new segment created in the Indian automobile industry and Ford is planning a big brutal assault on the Honda City.....

I remember talking to Abhishek Bachchan once, donno why and where he kept on saying that its time to go fida.....

On the other hand, Saif Ali Khan kept responding to abhishek Bachahan's fida wala dialogue and said-tujhe jispar fidaa hona ho, meri waali tere se zyaadi achchi hai. Because good is no longer good enough...

At whom and why is Abhishek Bachchan going fida? And why does Saif Ali Khan counter attacks him and tells-"good is no longer good enough?"

To get your answers, take a joshila break in this hot summer day, enjoy a movie and return to witness the next post...

(pics of ikon courtesy member absar)

sidindica is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th May 2010, 15:05   #50
Senior - BHPian
aniketi's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Pune
Posts: 1,321
Thanked: 793 Times

I don't see any mention for Lancer. Why so? Because it was never a threat for these sedans? Indigo was a super hit from its launch. I know my uncle buy one when it launched. It is still with him. It is still going good. Diesel baby & very fuel efficient.

Ikon seriously need upgrade now the way Honda did with its city. Completely new cars with same name. It may make Ikon successful
aniketi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th May 2010, 15:16   #51
KRf1's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: NCR / BLR
Posts: 339
Thanked: 3 Times

Great writeup Sid .

The Ikon 1.6 was such a brilliant drivers car . You could actualy feel the 'josh' as you floored the accelerator . Pure exhilaration . The driving position was perfect , the handeling was good and the wheelspin exciting !
KRf1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th May 2010, 18:00   #52
Senior - BHPian
sandeepmohan's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Wellington
Posts: 2,148
Thanked: 2,021 Times

I have the fully stripped down year 2000 Ford Ikon CLXi 1.6 which came with just the power steering. The previous owner of my Ford said he had the Power Windows, Central Locking and Remote Boot Release fitted later and it is quite evident in my car with the poorly applied glue to stick the Power Button Console and its switches on the drivers side. Everything extra fitted on the car, that is the power windows, central locking were done by Ford but not the remote boot release as it has its release button over the Fan Switch. Not ahead of the gear level.

The plastics on my car are terrible but has held well in 10 years. Probably cause of the rather low mileage of just 62000km.

What I do like on my car is the white faced dials. I was never expecting this on the CLXi.

The engine on my car is very good but the gear box is a bit of a let down as it has long throws. Its not a fault. Its they way it was in year 2000. The gear box built in Indian by HM or Ford is way superior. However the reverse gear clashing issues exists in both gear boxes. Happens when you don't engage reverse in a proper timed manner. Was never as issue with the Esteem.
sandeepmohan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27th May 2010, 14:43   #53
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: -
Posts: 4,724
Thanked: 4,098 Times

ONE 2 KA 4.


November, 2005.
Six years after Ford created history by launching an India exclusive car, a first by an global MNC in India, the company created yet another India specific car with inputs from Australia, Brazil, South Africa on a platform shared with the MK5 fiesta with a new body and modified interior trim and kept the fiesta nameplate unchanged for the Indian market.

Abhishek Bachchan was appointed as the brand ambassador and an innovative tagline-"GO FIDA" captured the spirit of Indian audiences and car buyers alike.

Like the ikon, Shankar mahadevan too sang the"go fida" song which was later added in an promotional album. The ikon was moved a segment lower into the basic entry level C segment.
The Fiesta was initially launched in 4 variants:
  • 1.4 EXI
  • 1.6 ZXI
  • 1.6 SXI
  • 1.4 ZXI TDCi
ABS was optional on all ZXI and SXI variants, price was kept between 5,92,000 to 7,50,000 depending upon the variant. The TDCi motor, designed in collaboration with PSA Peugeot Citroen was the lightest and the most compact engine ever designed by Ford. refinement levels were simply unreal and despite having only 68bhp propelling a heavy car, it was actually tuned perfectly to typical average Indian drivin conditions with emphasis on minimal turbo lag, refinement, fuel efficiency and driveability rather than outright performance and top end whack.

The car's combination of solid build, mature ride and handling, diesel economy and decent space and comfort (save for the cramped rear and a workman like interior) made it a favorite of the Indian public and the car started off well. About 3,000 bookings were made in the initial phase and there was a month's wait period till Q1 2006. Subsequently, demand for diesel outweighed petrol and based on customer feedback, the diesel too gained EXI and SXI variants in the coming months. the diesel fiesta, Ford's woes notwithstanding became a decent seller and a burgeoning threat to the accent CRDi.

March 2006.
Saif Ali Khan and Rani Mukherjee decide ki hum to eant ka awaab pather se denge and proclaim that benchmarks have been raised,and good is no longer good enough. Super stylish, super smooth. Now thats performance.
Presenting the Chevrolet Aveo, GM's opel corsa replacement which was launched with high expectations. In fact, India was just the third country (after Korea and China) to get this car.
Based on a 2000 platform shared with the Daewoo Kalos (U-VA), the whole body and interior was redesigned in 2006 in GM's PATAC centre in Shanghai, China with inputs from GMAT, Korea.

The product was pretty competitive, at least on paper, and priced at par with the Fiesta petrol.
Available in 1.4, 1.4 LS and 1.4 LT variants, it offered dual airbags as standard safety equipment, which none of its competitors offered that time. The price war intensified but Honda City was still a segment bestseller.
Despite all efforts, sales of aveo were below expectations. Perception of high maintenance cost, sub par dealer service, uninspiring engine and gearbox and a two star NCAP safety rating all did the Aveo more harm than good.
For Saif Ali Khan, really, just being good was no longer good enough.
Jo garajtein hai woh barastein nahin.

Down under, the price wars intensified in entry level segment. Many variants were pruned as replacements were preparing to get launched at a higher price band.
Ford's josh machine, the ikon, was no longer a senior josh but just a josh junior. After phasing out the 1.8 D, the 1.6 rocam too was silently pulled out after a series of final editions badged as "Josh 100".
Late in 2006 the sole variant-the flair was given another facelift when the SXI's grill and bumper was added and so were the fog lamps. Labeled as "the young ikon or the young icons", it was launched with beige interiors and multiple accessory options.

Korean missile

September 2006 was crucial for Hyundai, whose accent was badly bruised and battered by the honda city. It finally launched its much awaited sedan, the verna and positioned a notch above the accent, even though it was its replacement internationally with the same nameplate. Billed as India's first performance diesel luxury sedan, it was clearly targeted at the fiesta TDCi and not surprisingly, young enthusiasts started to lap verna CRDis in good numbers.
1.5 CRDi with 110ps, 26 odd kg-m torque and 0-00 kmph time of 11.2 seconds was too god to digest despite the dull design and mediocre handling the car offered. Premium pricing and lowest spec level not withstanding, the verna CRDi was almost a common sight on the Indian roads.
It was launched in 4 variants:
  • 1.6i
  • 1.6 xi
  • 1.6 xxi
  • 1.5 crdi
ABS with rear disc were offered as options on the 1.6 xxi and crdi.
Priced between 6,26,000 to 8,00,000 plus, the petrol sold below par and never caught the public's attention despite having a decent CVVT 1.6 103 ps motor.
The accent lineup too was pruned with the 1.6 GLS, 1.5 CRDI and both the viva variants phased out to make way for the verna. the sole variant was the 1.5 GLE and its price was too dropped to 4,99,000 in subsequent months.
So, the rivalries between the ikon flair 1.3 and accent 1.5 GLE continued...

The esteem's sales were dwindling and no major changes were made save for the price discounts to keep the product afloat in its 17th year of service.
November 2006 marked a major milestone for Honda as its City got a major nip and tuck, after selling almost 60,000 odd units since its introduction 3 years ago.
The model was renamed as the City ZX and featured:
  • new front with new grill, bumper, lights and bonnet
  • new rear quarter panel
  • new rear tailgate, bumper and taillights
  • introduction of a 1.5L, 100 PS VTEC model with rear disc brake as standard.
Tata too facelifted the indigo and launched a shortlived SX variant with leather upholstery, alloys, driver's seat height adjustment, on board entertainment system etc.
An extended wheelbase variant, the XL was launched in Jan 2007 with two new powertrains-the 1.4L 16V DOHC 100 ps petrol and 1.4 DICOR 70 PS 16V DOHC diesel. Priced between 5.5 to 8 lakh in classic and grand trim levels (classic was introduced later) it too bombed badly,its so called "cheap aspiring to be upmarket" image notwithstanding, its availability now just confined to meru cab market.
The SX too was phased out and the dicor was introduced in normal indigo, which continued to be available in LS and LX trim levels with petrol and TDI engine options respectively.

Men are back

Maruti Suzuki, pissed off with its Baleno being a disaster, phased out the nameplate in 2006 after 6 years and launched a tall, hunky looking "masculine" SX4 sedan and packed it with unimaginable level of equipment never heard of in this price bracket and it planned to hit the nail straight in the coffin of Honda, by pricing its top end ZXI cheaper the the City GXI which made the Honda looked severely malnourished in comparison.....

Ford's string of limited editions continued with the fiesta to keep its sales from sagging, first with an optional sunroof, then with the durasport with those garish race stickers and then with that fida edition...

How did Honda react?
And how did the public respond?
Did men really came back to maruti showrooms and sign cheques?
Or did they wait for the country's first wide bodied car?

Find out next, as its time for yet another joshila break....

Last edited by sidindica : 27th May 2010 at 14:44.
sidindica is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27th May 2010, 15:17   #54
Team-BHP Support
benbsb29's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Brisbane
Posts: 8,387
Thanked: 4,471 Times

Originally Posted by sidindica View Post
Late in 2006 the sole variant-the flair was given another facelift when the SXI's grill and bumper was added and so were the fog lamps. Labeled as "the young ikon or the young icons", it was launched with beige interiors and multiple accessory options.
Thats not entirely correct. In 2006, the Flair already had the SXi bumpers and grill, but didnt come with beige interiors. It came with grey interiors. It was in 2007 that in another effort to push up sales, the beige interiors were lauched for the Ikon Flair.

This was the ad in 2006.

Name:  2006FordIkon17.jpg
Views: 2715
Size:  33.3 KB
benbsb29 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th May 2010, 13:37   #55
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: -
Posts: 4,724
Thanked: 4,098 Times

Starting today, all other cars will feel short.

2007 marked the entry of Renault in India with a much tom tomed joint venture with mahindra and their maiden product was "the wide bodied logan" engineered by Dacia Romania and badged as mahindra renault here. Their key target was straight at Tata Indigo, which was churning out sales and cash registers ringing at the bombay house. It had everything that the Indian market wanted on paper-great interior space, comfort, adequate balance of performance, mileage, ride and handling etc. But alas! dibiya styling not withstanding, cost cutting evident and high price with a confused positioning meant that the so called "sensible car" never succeeded in the long term, despite a good initial start and the overall product being extremely competent. Multiple variants like:
  • 1.4 GL
  • 1.4 GLE
  • 1.4 GLX
  • 1.6 GLX
  • 1.6 GLS
  • 1.6 GLSX
  • 1.5 DLE
  • 1.5 DLX
  • 1.5 DLS
  • 1/5 DLSX
really made people confused as if what to go for. Sales shrunk terribly after just 18 months and like ford, renault too resorted to limited edition gimmicks like edge,edge connect, play and tourer but nothing worked to increase the 300-500 units per month average logan sales.
Price cuts recently only meant dreadful resale values, and the so called "taxi operators image" didn't help private buyers either. The JV flopped and after 3 years, it was officially conked off with Mahindra now getting full design and manufacturing rights for the logan.
Mahindra's campaign the era of sedans is over didn't help matters either. Euro spec ulte haath waala controls and inverted wipers are probably the worse decisions for our market...lets see whats in store for this highly comepetent and functional sedan.
A heavy makeover is desperately needed.

The SX4 got a nice start, in fact it went on a 2 month wait for the first 8 months of availability. Pissed off, Honda finally launched its 10th anniversary of City ZX with features added on almost all models and finally, the VTEC got ABS and airbags as options for the very first time. Prices too were jacked up, yet this version actually increased the sales of the city, for the wars were now clearly focused between the city and the SX4.
The SX4 sold decently, but some complaints regarding poor gas mileage and some small niggling faults emerged, resulting in sales drop. But there was another bigger reason.
The Dzire.
2008 perhaps saw some of the bigger actions in the 3 box segment. Ford's ikonic sales were consistent, and now bolstered by so called music editions like the ikool, the ifool etc etc...
March 2008 finally saw Maruti's 18 year old esteem laid to rest, replaced by another blockbuster-the Swift Dzire, or in simple words, dikki wala swift. Despite its ghastly appearance, the overall value it provided at multiple price points resulted in a bigger blockbuster than even DDLJ, with wait periods stretching to record 6-8 months, especially for the DDIS. Coming in 3 variants each for petrol and diesel, it continues to set the sales charts afire even today.

An ikonic comeback with a touch of fiesta siesta?

Name:  newfordikonpicture.jpg
Views: 2569
Size:  54.0 KB

2008 finally saw some double trouble from Ford for the competition with both their sedans, the ikon and fiesta getting serious makeovers. The Fiesta ditches its 1.4 petrol and just comes with 1.6 petrol and 1.4 TDCI with a new "kinetic" front end and more features added in different variants. However, the talking point of the range is its new flagship, the 1.6S, focussed mainly at those who love driving. Lower and stiffer springs and dampers, wide 15" alloys and rubber, all round body kit and a gleaming blue colour set it apart from other mundane fiestas. It is awarded as the country's best driver's car from ACI track test by Narain Kartyeikaen. Superb handling and body control is its forte. Yet, this variant finds extremely limited takers and Ford's limited edition gimmicks continue to this day with more of promotion of lower end basic variants. The fiesta recently reached a milestone when its 1,00,000 car rolled out of the Chennai factory recently.

The much ignored ikon got its final nip and tuck with a new droopy front end and a 1.4 TDCi engine, launched at a shock price of 5,19,000 ex-delhi that time. Sensible? Yes. Crazy? you bet.

Name:  newfordikondashboard.jpg
Views: 2994
Size:  28.9 KB

But, is it a case of too little too late?

Newer more contemporary products like the 3rd gen honda city, the indigo manza and the fiat linea, to a certain extent are success stories from day one, the city in particular, which has sold more than 60,000 units in just under 2 years despite being expensive.
Ford's ikon and fiesta are good products, yes, but are now outclassed by the competition.
2010 actually saw a birth of a new ford-the one ford. Its Indian market only focused product-the figo becomes an overnight blockbuster and finally gives the ford the volumes in the Indian marketd with more than 15,000 booked and delivered. Whether it can sustain the long run remains to be seen, whats more interesting is that how ford reacts to the mid size competition as the ikon rides into eternal sunset, maybe sooner rather than later....
The new fiesta, coming this fall, promises to change the midsize sedan market, but before that it has to face a major hurdle-the VW vento.

Can the new fiesta succeed in bringing back josh to the ford brand? Only time will tell.
Besides, it was an immense pleasure for me to write this ikonic story which I hope, will be well accepted here with josh.

Live life with josh,


Last edited by sidindica : 29th May 2010 at 13:41.
sidindica is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30th May 2010, 12:10   #56
Damu's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 217
Thanked: 60 Times

Originally Posted by sidindica View Post
...it was an immense pleasure for me to write this ikonic story which I hope, will be well accepted here with josh.
Live life with josh,
The josh for me was when you came to my model (2004)!

It's a well researched and well written history of the mid-size sedan segment for the last decade. Would be nice to see this serialised in the national auto mags (without emphasis on on any model).

It was very interesting; I looked forward eagerly to each installment and loved it. Thanks a ton for writing this.

Damu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 9th July 2010, 23:04   #57
Senior - BHPian
DRIV3R's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: India
Posts: 1,693
Thanked: 1,452 Times

Few pics of the NXT.
Attached Images
DRIV3R is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 4th February 2011, 17:06   #58
Sugeeta's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: New Delhi
Posts: 352
Thanked: 191 Times
Default Re: An Ikonic Story

@sidindica; Very, very well written.
I was exploring some modifications to my Ikon & Fiesta and same across this thread. Good to see other Ford Fans on the Forum.
Had initially planned to get rid of my Jan 2003 1.6 ZXi Ikon this year. But emotional attachments run strong, so it remains parked at home, getting bumped around by the Fortuners in our apartments. Hope to take out some time and restore it.
Sugeeta is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 4th February 2011, 17:20   #59
Distinguished - BHPian
vb-san's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: S'pore/Thrissur
Posts: 4,982
Thanked: 4,799 Times
Default Re: An Ikonic Story

Hey Sid, just came across this wonderful thread. Being a proud owner of Ikon 1.6 NXT, I really could identify the whole story.
Thanks for this. Extremely entertaining!
vb-san is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Ikonic journeys : Bangalore to Ooty & Coonor benbsb29 Travelogues 56 30th June 2010 22:16
IKONic problems danlalan Technical Stuff 105 11th October 2009 23:22
One last drive, those iKONic moments. Jaggu Long-Term Ownership Reviews 22 7th July 2008 12:14
Ikonic Troubles wolfinstein Technical Stuff 18 27th June 2008 15:52
The Prancing Horse Story Stratos The International Automotive Scene 7 10th March 2006 19:25

All times are GMT +5.5. The time now is 10:08.

Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Team-BHP.com
Proudly powered by E2E Networks