INDIA: Ford eyes low-cost small cars
Ford may consider making low-cost small cars in India in response to declining sales here, according to local news reports.
"We are interested in all car segments and are looking at the available opportunities in the Indian market," Ford India chief Arvind Mathew told the Economic Times of India, according to the Associated Press. "The small car is not ruled out, but we are yet to decide the details of any compact model for the Indian market."
Local Ford spokeswoman Deeptie Sethi told the news agency the company is considering all options but no decision on small cars has yet been made.
Mathew's comments came as Ford India launched a diesel Fusion, the European-designed hatchback Focus derivative.
"The high performance, new generation diesel technology is gaining preference in the market and a certain class of customers are preferring it," he was quoted as saying.
Ford took just over 3% of the Indian market in the last fiscal year and its sales declined recently, AP added. The company entered India in 1995 when foreign car makers were allowed to manufacture there but has failed to capture any significant market share because it didn't have much in the small car segment, the report said, adding that compact hatchbacks make up nearly 75% of car sales.
Ford developed a sedan version of the previous-generation, B-segment European Fiesta, called the Ikon, because many Indian buyers of such larger cars prefer this body style to a hatchback. The Ikon was also sold in Mexico and Brazil, where small sedans are also popular.