In August 2015, the month when the Figo Aspire compact sedan was launched by Ford, nearly 5,176 units of the car reached dealer stockyards across the country. With those numbers, the Figo Aspire became the second best selling compact sedan in the country, ahead of the likes of the Honda Amaze, the Hyundai Xcent and the Tata Zest.
What’s more, even the Maruti Suzuki Dzire, which is India’s best selling sedan, and also the country’s best selling car for the past couple of months, has lost about 5,000 units in August. Taking a closer look at the numbers, it’s easy to see whose gaining, and at whose expense.
In July 2015, before the Figo Aspire made it to the Indian car market, the Dzire did 23,086 units, its best numbers ever. In the same month, the other compact sedans in the market, namely the Xcent, Amaze and Zest together managed 8,818 units. Together, the total sales of the compact sedan segment in July 2015 numbered 31,904 units. In August 2015, this figure rose slightly, to 32,362 units. While sales of the Xcent, Amaze and the Zest remained more or less the same, at 8,468 units, the Figo Aspire seems to have robbed sales from the Dzire.
The Figo Aspire has outsold the Ecosport in August 2015, even as the latter faces increasing competition from the likes of the Hyundai Creta and the Maruti Suzuki S-Cross. More importantly, if the Figo Aspire can continue the good run, it would allow Ford India to shed its one-trick-pony image, an image that the American automaker has been stuck with for years.
In the past, the Ikon, Fiesta, Figo and the Ecosport have been individual top sellers for Ford, albeit in a product portfolio where other cars and SUVs have largely under performed. The Figo Aspire now seems to have an opportunity to correct this historical imbalance.
So, what’s driving the Figo Aspire?
1. It’s arguably the best looking compact sedan in the country, with proportionate lines all around, and Ford’s global design language sits rather well on this car.
2. The car is safety loaded, and is a class leader in many aspects. For instance, it features the most powerful petrol and turbo diesel engines in its class, offers the most safety equipment options, and also offers a segment leading petrol-automatic variant.
3. The Figo Aspire is also the most sharply priced compact sedans around, with only the Tata Zest offering better value.
4. When it comes to ride and handling, Ford’s driver DNA has been retained on the Figo Aspire to a certain degree. This makes the car a better buy for those looking at a fun-to-drive compact sedan.
5. The perception that Ford cars are pricey to maintain is changing. With the Figo and the Ecosport, the American brand has demonstrated that it can match the industry leader in service costs. The rub off effect is telling on the demand Figo Aspire.
Where does Ford go from now?
September 23rd will hold a few answers. The next big launch from the Blue Oval is the new Figo, which is essentially the Figo Aspire compact sedan served up with a hatchback form factor. IF Ford can deliver a sharp price for the Figo, like it has done with the Figo Aspire, the American automaker could finally have 3 hot selling cars, and this has never, ever happened in Ford India’s history. Buoyed equally by growing domestic and export numbers, Ford seems to finally be on its way to turning around its fortunes in India. Alan Mullaly will be happy, for the monumental One Ford strategy seems to be finally finding its feet in India.