Ford India bets big on ‘Freestyle’ to boost sales, exports

Kolkata: Ford India is betting big on the new compact utility vehicle, Freestyle, and also looking at new launches, locally developed products to boost sales, a company official said on Monday.

“We came out with Ford EcoSport back in 2012 and it happens to be in the mini-utility vehicle (segment). There was no car in the segment when we launched it.

“After this success, we have launched this compact utility vehicle… we are betting big on that to boost domestic sales as well as exports,” said Antony Cherian Kurian, General Manager, Centre of Excellence (Sales, Production and Capacity Planning System), Ford India.

According to him, the compact utility vehicle, which is the “potential area of development”, is in between the mini-utility and high-end hatchback cars segment.

“We are also working on localisation of our products to make them more economical for markets,” he said, adding that two of its plants located at Chennai and at Sanad in Gujarat were not catering to domestic market but also to overseas.

The carmaker exports its vehicles to Europe and some countries in North America, Middle East and Africa, he said.

Its combined domestic wholesales and exports in March recorded 27,580 vehicles from 24,832 vehicles in the same month last year.

In March, domestic wholesales stood at 9,016 vehicles, up from 8,700 vehicles in the same month last year. Exports in the past month grew to 18,564 vehicles from 16,132 vehicles in March 2017.

Asked about plans for rolling out of facelift versions of its cars, Kurian said: “Some announcements could come by late this year or next year. In terms of (rolling out) facelift, we would be working on Aspire and Figo.

“Our strategy has been to come out with something new and we are working on innovation.”

In the first quarter (January-March) of 2018, the combined domestic wholesale and exports grew by 17 per cent to 74,080 vehicles compared to 63,117 in the first quarter of 2017.

Its combined domestic sales and exports in 2017 stood at 262,784 vehicles compared to 238,098 units in 2016.