Ford’s Indian unit will export its new compact Figo car to South Africa, local president and managing director Michael Boneham said at the model’s launch on Tuesday.

The Figo is based on the previous generation European Fiesta with a minor restyle and mechanical upgrades such as uprated engine cooling to cope with the Indian climate.

Ford spent US$500m to double annual production capacity to 200,000 units at its Chennai manufacturing facility which positions it as a regional centre of excellence for small car engineering and production.

The factory will also produce diesel and petrol engines for local vehicle production and export within the Asia Pacific and Africa region.

The Figo hatchback was designed and engineered to compete in India’s small car segment, which accounts for more than 70% of the new vehicle market.

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