Ford joins the 'Compact Sedan' bandwagon with the Figo Aspire

When Tata pioneered the ‘compact sedan’ with the Indigo CS, little did we realize that it could become one of the most-successful and hotly-contested segments ever in India. But, that’s what it is right now, with Maruti-Suzuki, Hyundai, Honda and Tata involved in a slug-fest. Bang in the midst of this slug-fest lands Figo Aspire, Ford’s next launch for India and the one that the company is betting big on.

Expected to launch in the next few months, the Figo Aspire will be manufactured at Ford’s spanking new production facility in Sanand, Gujarat. Spread over 460 acres, Ford has invested over US$ 1 billion in this integrated facility that include stamping, body, paint and assembly operations for vehicle manufacturing as well as machining and assembly operations for engine manufacturing. Capable of churning out 240,000 vehicles and 270,000 engines annually, the Sanand facility would make production constraints a thing of the past for the American brand. Let’s not forget that the Ecosport, in its initial days, commanded a waiting period running into months owing to production constraints in Ford’s Chennai facility. 

The Figo Aspire, that sounds uncannily similar to the Swift Dzire, will be the first product to roll out of the Sanand plant. Speaking on the inauguration, Mark Fields, President and CEO of Ford Motor Company, commented, “With today’s opening of our plant in Sanand, we have taken our growth commitment to a new high in India. We are doubling our manufacturing capacity in India, creating good jobs and serving our customers around the world with great products.” The Figo hatchback, that would replace the current model which is in production since 2010, is expected to be the next to roll out of Sanand.

Like all other compact sedans, the Figo Aspire measures less than 4 meters in length to avail the excise duty concessions on offer from the Indian government. Sporting the brand’s latest ‘Kinetic’ design philosophy, the Figo Aspire has an upright front end characterized by the beautiful Aston Martin-lookalike grille and sweptback headlamps. Ford’s designers have done a superb job of integrating the boot and, to our eyes, the Figo Aspire is the best-looking compact sedan out there. Large trapezoidal taillight clusters dominate the rear as does a thick strip of chrome that connects them. The interiors of Figo Aspire would borrow heavily from the new Fiesta and Ecosport. Ford’s micro-site also claims that the compact sedan would come with features like voice-activated SYNC with Ford Applink and the segment-first side and curtain airbags. Going by the Ecosport experience, we expect the Figo Aspire to give its competitors a run for their money in terms of features offered. Engine choices include the familiar 1.5-liter TDCi diesel engine that powers the Ecosport and new Fiesta and a new 1.2-liter TiVCT petrol engine.

So, if you are in the market for a compact sedan or a premium hatch, hold on for a couple of months. Ford appears to have a great offering and you might not want to miss that!

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