New Delhi: Ford Motor Co.launched its small car Figo in India on Tuesday. Joseph Hinrichs, who was recently appointed as the company’s president for Asia-Pacific and Africa, and Michael Boneham, president and managing director of Ford India Pvt. Ltd, talk about the road ahead for the firm. Edited excerpts:
Going small: Ford India’s Boneham (left) and Ford Motor’s Hinrichs at the Figo’s launch in New Delhi. Priyanka Parashar / Mint
Where would you like to see Ford India in three-five years?
Hinrichs: The Figo launch is a culmination of years of work, from Indian engineers to our manufacturing team in Chennai. The opportunity that we have for Ford in India is a special one as the Indian auto market will continue to grow and we intend to grow with it...
Will your new products also cater to the mass market?
Hinrichs: We’ll leave it to Michael (Boneham) and his team to set the direction... We have global products that are competitive in all those segments and we’ll take a look at that entire portfolio and see what makes sense for the Indian market.
Boneham: Every 12-18 months, we will be launching a new product. What segment it goes to is defined by what the market is driving. Obviously 70% of vehicles sold are in the sub-B segment as we call it (small cars costing below Rs5 lakh) and Joe (Hinrichs) is challenging the team consistently to make sure we get our fair share of the segment. But it doesn’t mean we’re not going to look at other segments.
What are your export plans for the Figo from India?
Boneham: ...South Africa will be the first export market for the Figo. (It is) very important that the investments that we’ve made for the Indian market allow us to build the Figo product for India as well as export it.
What did Ford learn from the Figo project?
Hinrichs: From a corporate perspective, we had a new set of eyes looking and understanding the Indian consumer, and also what it takes to compete in the small car segment in India. It allows us to take a look at all our small cars around...