Production of the next-generation Ford Figo compact sedan will commence in the first quarter of 2015. The car will roll out of Ford India’s spanking new Sanand factory at Gujarat. In fact, this correspondent just spotted Ford announcing its Sanand factory’s impending inauguration through billboards at the Ahmedabad airport, bedecked for the Pravasi Bhartiya Diwas.
The factory will be capable of building 240,000 cars each year, along with 270,000 engines. The new manufacturing facility will cater to both domestic and export markets. Apart from the Figo compact sedan, a hatchback based on the same platform, in this case the heavily modified previous generation European Fiesta platform, will also be produced at Sanand.
Ford has already commenced trial production at its new factory. The American automaker is re-using the previous generation European Fiesta platform for the 2015 Figo hatch and compact sedans. The platform is the same that underpins the current generation versions of the Figo hatchback and Classic sedan.
Reusing the platform will give Ford attractive volumes of scale considering the fact that the Figo twins will be sold not just in India, but also in Brazil and a slew of other developing markets around the globe. However, it must be noted that this platform has been heavily revised to meet the of expectations of buyers looking for contemporary features and performance.
The Figo twins are expected to use the 1.5 liter TDCI turbo diesel engine, and 1.2 liter and 1.5 liter naturally aspirated petrol motors. Five speed manual transmissions will drive the front wheels of the cars while an automatic transmission may be offered as optional equipment on petrol powered models.
While the Figo twins have already gone on sale in Brazil, the India-spec compact sedan will differ in size from the Brazilian version. With excise benefits in mind, Ford will shorten the length of the Figo compact sedan sold in India, to under four meters. Both cars are expected to feature stylish interiors and advanced connectivity options.
In terms of pricing, the 2015 Figo hatchback will replace the current generation model and is likely to arrive with pricing that is similar to the outgoing model. The compact sedan, on the other hand, could be positioned cheek by jowl to the likes of the Maruti Suzuki Dzire, the Tata Zest and the Honda Amaze.
Ford will be keen to have the Figo twins in the Indian market as the automaker’s only bread winner in the country now is the EcoSport. Sales of the Figo hatchback have tapered off rather dramatically and the new cars are urgently required if the American automaker wants to thrive in one of the world’s most dynamic car markets.