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Ford on wooing spree with Aspire

S RONENDRA SINGH | Updated on January 24, 2018

High hopes: Ford CEO Mark Fields along with Gujarat CM AnandibenPatel at the launch of Ford Aspire in Sanand, Gujarat. - PTI

Company kicks off roadshows for compact sedan due to debut soon

Ford India is pulling out all stops to ensure that the Figo Aspire, due to be launched in the coming months, will create the right customer connect. The company is betting big on it to increase its market share in the increasingly competitive compact sedan segment.

Mark Fields, Ford Motor Company’s President and CEO, unveiled the Aspire at the Sanand plant in late-March. The car will now head out to 25 cities and 40 locations across India over the next 10 weeks as part of the marketing drive. During this roadshow, customers will get firsthand experience of the Aspire as well as a sneak peek into its features.

Aiming high

Ford India is confident that these will exceed general expectation levels from a compact sedan. “We are looking at what it takes to differentiate ourselves in that segment and started on exteriors leading to luxurious and spacious interiors,” says Raj Sarkar, Vice-President, Marketing, Ford India.

The Aspire will be the first vehicle to offer leather seats and six airbags in the compact sedan category. It will be equipped with Sync and AppLink, Ford’s advanced in-car connectivity system, that allows drivers to control their phone, entertainment and apps hands-free using simple voice commands.

The Aspire will have petrol and diesel engines as well as an automatic option. Sarkar says it has been developed as a One Ford product with inputs from engineering resources worldwide. “In terms of development, it is about applying what type of technology and innovation we think would be best in the Indian market. This has really been the focus while building this car," he adds.

Ford India has also started a pre-launch campaign asking people ‘What drives you?’ to be anchored by Bollywood’s Farhan Akhtar. The star will ask people to share their goals, dreams and aspirations that drive them to ‘go further’ everyday. Participation will be both online and through ground engagement while showcasing the Aspire.

Ford India will reward eight participants, selected during the course of the campaign, ₹1-lakh each. The campaign will culminate with the lucky winner becoming the first customer to drive home the Aspire. Sarkar says 56 participants will be given special prizes.

It is clear that Ford India is keen on getting the right build up for the Aspire which will take on worthy rivals like the Swift DZire, Honda Amaze and Hyundai Xcent. The fact that its more recent offering, the EcoSport, has been quite a success will give the company the added confidence about its brand acceptance in this market.

Bigger picture

Ford has also made it clear that India will play a big role in its Vision 2020 drive which will see nearly 9.5 million cars roll out from its facilities worldwide. China will, of course, be the biggest growth driver while India would have jumped to the world’s third largest automobile market by the end of the decade.

Ford plans to make Sanand an important export hub especially to markets in Latin America and South Africa. It is also likely that the ASEAN region will also be serviced from India especially with free trade agreements gathering momentum in the coming years.

The One Ford strategy has been critical in getting the company moving ahead quickly with its global plans, especially in emerging markets where frugal engineering is the mantra for survival. As a result, profits will become harder to achieve which makes the case for common platforms even more compelling.

Published on May 14, 2015

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