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Ford India has launched Figo Aspire priced between Rs 4.90 lakh and Rs 8.24 lakh (ex-showroom price Delhi) to take on the likes of Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai and Honda in the fast growing compact sedan segment.

The Figo Aspire will be available in both petrol and diesel engine options. The petrol option has two variants, powered by 1.2 litre and 1.5 litre engines, available at a price range of Rs 4.90 lakh and Rs 7.80 lakh. While, the diesel option has a 1.5 litre engine and is tagged at a price range of Rs 5.90 lakh and Rs 8.24 lakh (all prices ex-showroom Delhi).

"The year 2015 is the year of next stage of growth for Ford in India. We plan to launch three new products in next six months starting with the Figo Aspire today," Ford India president and managing director Nigel Harris told reporters here. He said the Figo Aspire has been developed keeping the requirements of Indian customers in mind such as good design, high fuel efficiency and value for money while meeting Ford's global standards.

"Ford Figo Aspire breaks all stereotypes and proves that a compact sedan can also have the best of everything - be it stunning design, smart technology, advanced safety and impressive fuel efficiency," he said. With its pricing, Figo Aspire has started a price war against the likes of Maruti Suzuki's Dzire, Hyundai's Xcent, Honda's Amaze and Tata Motors' Zest which are priced at a range of Rs 5.03 lakh to Rs 8.21 lakh.

The segment is witnessing a fierce competition in the Indian market and accounts for nearly 30,000-35,000 cars each month. After the Figo Aspire, Harris said Ford India will launch the Figo hatch around the festival season, to be followed by an all new version of SUV Endeavour later in the year or early next year. With sales of 1.1 million vehicles in 2014, compact cars' share was 45 per cent in India's auto market in 2014. Ford expects the segment to grow to around 1.6 million units by 2018.

The company will also export the Figo Aspire to compete globally. Ford plans to make India an export hub for small cars. It aims to triple exports from India over the next five years with its new USD 1 billion plant at Sanand becoming operational. "Products like Figo Aspire will come out of our Sanand facility not only for the Indian market but also for other global markets. That plant is going to be an export hub," Harris said. At present, Ford India exports around 60,000 to 70,000 units annually to over 35 global markets from its Chennai- based facility.

With its new Sanand factory getting operational, the company is targeting a total of 50 export markets. Ford India's total installed capacity currently stands at 4.4 lakh vehicles and 6.1 lakh engines per annum from its two plants in Chennai and Sanand in Gujarat.

Reflecting the growing need for consumers to stay connected, the Figo Aspire packs in smart technologies that help customers integrate their car more easily into their digital lives. MyFord Dock offers drivers a unique solution for storing, mounting and charging mobile phones, MP3 players and satellite navigation systems, and for integrating these devices into the car's entertainment system. Consumers looking for even greater technological integration can choose a Figo Aspire equipped with SYNC with AppLink, Ford's in-car connectivity system. SYNC with AppLink allows drivers to control their phone, entertainment and apps hands-free using simple voice commands.

In India, AppLink allows drivers to access information about nearby attractions and food destinations with Explore by Map My India, and keep themselves updated with the latest cricket scores and upcoming fixtures with ESPN Cricinfo. The secure global location-sharing app, Glympse, also lets drivers share their location. Figo Aspire also features Ford's MyKey technology that lets owners program keys with restricted driving modes that encourage good habits, such as increasing seat belt use, limiting vehicle top speeds and regulating audio volume.
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Publication:Pakistan & Gulf Economist
Date:Aug 23, 2015

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