“Fiesta will have higher technology than available in the rest of the segment”

Ford unveiled the new “global” Fiesta in April in New Delhi but hasn’t yet unveiled the engine options it will be offering with the Fiesta. However, Michael Boneham, president and managing director, Ford India did confirm to CarToq that the car will reach showrooms in July.

CarToq spoke to Boneham about the strategy for Fiesta and the lessons learnt from Figo’s success which Ford hopes to replicate with the Fiesta.

CarToq: Looking at the positioning of the new Fiesta compared to the Fiesta Classic, how do you plan to create that differentiation?

michael boneham ford india photo
Photo: Ford India MD Michael Boneham at the Fiesta fashion show by designer Swapnil Shinde, whose futuristic designs were "inspired" by the Fiesta.

Boneham: This car sits in the premium sedan segment. It has a futuristic design. It’s “techtastic” as we call it. We’ve talked about voice-activated controls, which is a first in this segment. Many other bits of technology that we haven’t introduced or talked about yet, will make their way into this car. I can also say that we will have best-in-class fuel economy in this segment, and all-new power-trains which I will talk about when we launch it.

CarToq: Have you come to a final decision on the engine variants for the car?

Boneham: We’ve definitely said a diesel and a petrol.

CarToq: But the capacity and power specifications?

Boneham:We’re not really ready to reveal that yet. We’ve got to hold something close to our chest.

CarToq: There’s a lot of competition now in the segment where the new Fiesta is going to be positioned, like the new Hyundai Verna for instance. What do you think would make this car stand out vis-à-vis the competition?

Boneham:You’re right, there is a lot of strong competition and you have to respect the competition. You have to look at what you can do to differentiate yourself. Now the point of difference that we see here is technology. When people step into the Fiesta they will realize there is a higher level of technology than what is available in the rest of the segment. It will have outstanding fuel economy, and obviously the Ford signature great drive, ride and handling. We think now that people in this segment are moving away from being driven to driving themselves, and would like to get the feel of the vehicle. I’m very happy with how this car has come together.

CarToq: As of now are you bringing in only the Fiesta sedan, any plans for the hatchback version?

Boneham: We have announced eight new products over the next four years. This is the first of the eight and I don’t want to announce any future products just yet. We’ll keep looking at how things are going in the industry and decide our products.

CarToq: And when is this Fiesta finally going to be available in showrooms?

Boneham: We are looking to launch the car in July. We have said we are going to launch mid-year, and we just want to make sure that we get the car completely ready for our customers, as it’s a premium sedan. We want to make sure the customer gets the best we can possibly deliver. We’ll let you know the dates soon.

CarToq: The Ford Figo has been quite successful in India in the past year, thanks to a pretty aggressive strategy from Ford. How do you see that brand being carried forward now?

Boneham: I think Figo has been a tremendous success story for us in India. It really established Ford as a brand here, even though we’ve already been here for 12 years. But this is the first time, when we launched Figo that we got it in to a segment where over 70 per cent of all vehicles are sold in India. We have very high local content in the Figo. The response has been tremendous. It’s a real value-for-money proposition. For me, the Figo will continue to be strong and a value-for-money vehicle. While the global Fiesta, relative to the Fiesta Classic will be a premium position sedan.

CarToq: One concern many CarToq readers have with regard to Ford vehicles, and even with the Ford Figo, is the cost of spares and overall ownership cost…

Boneham: The Figo’s cost of spares are best-in-class. We will be doing the same with the global Fiesta too, and provide best-in-class pricing for spare parts. We understand that the Indian customer is very discerning about overall cost of ownership. We benchmarked our pricing against others in the industry and came up with best-in-class prices for the Figo and we are doing this again with the new Fiesta. People have written about how happy they are with the cost of ownership of a Figo, and we want to make sure we do that with the Fiesta