New Delhi: After about a decade and a half in the Indian market, Ford Motor Co. is aiming to step up sales volumes by introducing a small car next year known as the Figo. Alan Mulally, chief executive officer of the only big US automobile company that staved off bankruptcy during the global financial meltdown, says the timing is just right for the launch of the Figo in this interview, in which he also talks about the car market and how Ford protected itself from going the way of the other big US auto firms. Edited excerpts:

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How does it feel to have a small car finally in India?

Well, it’s very exciting, especially for our wonderful Indian customers, because they’re getting a chance to experience a fabulous vehicle from Ford.

Why has it taken you this long?

Well, I think what we’ve been focused on around the world, especially in the US, were larger vehicles, especially SUVs (sport utility vehicles) and trucks. One of the very special things about Ford is that we’ve really pulled together all the Ford operations around the world to focus on the customer and also to have a full product line of small, medium and large vehicles. The Indian market is a tremendous market and so now, we have a chance to leverage all that intellectual capability around the world to bring a fabulous small car to India.

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Is it the right time for a small car?

I think this is a perfect time because when we look at the markets going forward, about 60% of the vehicles will be of the smaller size, so this is a very important market in India and around the world. It’s just special to be able to launch the vehicle in India.

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