Ford India rolls-out first Figo from Chennai

Ford, it may be recalled, was the first company to set up shop in Chennai, now widely referred to as the "Detroit of South Asia". Though the title is quite debatable, the importance of Chennai in the Indian automotive industry cannot be ruled out as well. In addition to Ford, MNC's like Hyundai, BMW, HM-Mitsubishi and recently Renault-Nissan and Daimler Trucks have also made Chennai their home. Though Ford had the first-comer advantage in Chennai, in terms of production volume, Ford was left to play catch-up with the other biggies announcing huge investments and volumes. Not anymore.

It may also be remembered that Ford India committed an investment of $ 500 million for it's small-car project (Figo) and for the engine facility. Now that the plant is ready, the first Ford Figo rolled out of the Chennai plant on Feb-05-2010 in the presence of the Honorable CM of Tami Nadu, Dr.M.Karunanidhi. The "Job 1" Ford Figo was driven off the assembly line less than 6 months after the public unveiling of the car by the President & CEO of Ford Motor Company, Dr.Alan Mulally. The Figo will be launched in the first quarter of the year 2010 with a 1.2L Petrol and 1.4L Diesel engine. With the new Assembly & Engine plant going into production, the total engine capacity at Ford India will reach 250,000 from the current 60,000 units per year.

79% of the diesel and 60% of the petrol engine components are sourced from the local suppliers. Overall, the Ford Figo will be launched with 85% local content, thus enabling Ford to price the car competitively. I expect the Figo to undercut the current small-car benchmark i10 by atleast 20,000 rupees for comparable variants. Ford needs to get it right this time with the Figo if it expects to stay in the fight in getting a slice of the lucrative and growing Indian car market. With that hope, three cheers to Ford for the "Job 1 Figo"!

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