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Jul 06, 2013, 04.53 PM IST | Source: CNBC-TV18

EcoSport to drive Ford's profitability in India: Singh

Ford has priced its new sport utility vehicle (SUV) Ecosport at a very aggressive Rs 5.59 lakhs. At this price, not only has Ford created a new entry level SUV category but it will also compete with the likes of the Maruti Dzire and the Hyundai i20.

The secret of success for us we believe will continue to be just like in the EcoSport.

Joginder Singh

President

Ford India

Joginder Singh, president, Ford India said the company is betting big on the new EcoSport to drive it to profitability in India and deliver returns on the USD 2 billion dollars, the global car company has committed to this market.

Ford has priced its new sport utility vehicle (SUV) Ecosport at a very aggressive Rs 5.59 lakhs. At this price, not only has Ford created a new entry level SUV category but it will also compete with the likes of the Maruti Dzire and the Hyundai i20.

Also Read: Ford bets on EcoSport to ride mini-SUV boom in India

The EcoSport will not be impacted by the additional excise duty on SUV, and in fact is a beneficiary of the small car duty as it is under-4 metre in length.

Singh said, we expect our customers to come from a whole variety of segments. “Existing sedan owners, people who own hatchbacks, people who own small SUVs, people who own big SUVs, they might think that this is the right size SUV for their lifestyle,” he added.

Below are the excerpts of his interview with CNBC-TV18’s Shereen Bhan

Q: What are your plans for India?

A: The interesting thing about India is that there are new segments emerging all the time. We are in the sub 4 metre category it is the right SUV.

What we have announced today was the icing on the cake that we were able to offer such a compelling price proposition. This is what I call a ‘Dhamaka’ that we have been able to combine these things so well.

Q: Congratulations on pulling off what has been a very successful launch and let me start by saying that a lot of the assumptions have been proven wrong.

A: This is our own space, that’s the way I would define it. The interesting thing about India is that there are new segments emerging all the time. We are in the sub 4 meter category, it’s the right sized SUV and this is our own space.

We are very conscious of the needs and wants of Indian customers. Indian customers want the best features, best technologies and a great ride quality. They want the fuel economy and at the same time they want such a great product proposition at a great value for money.

To me, what we have announced today was the icing on the cake. We were able to offer such a compelling price proposition. I call it a Dhamaka that we have been able to combine these things so well.

Q: You have very aggressively been able to price this product. How much of the design specification was driven by the eventual price that you wanted to offer?

A: There is more than just a design specification. Ofcourse, we have to design what the needs of the market are when we think there is a strong demand in the sub four metre category.

However, it’s more than that, the reason why we have been able to offer such a great proposition to the customer. First of all we have the advantage of scale. The EcoSport product is being produced in our factory in Chennai, but it will satisfy customers not only in the Indian market, but also be satisfying customers in the export market as well.

We have that advantage of scale. When you have a factory which is running at higher volumes and the unit cost of production comes down then we are able to take advantage of that. The second factor in addition to the design efficiency that we have is the very satisfactory level of localization we have in this product.

We have been engaged in this localization strategy over a period of time, to make sure that we take advantage of our global suppliers that are helping Ford worldwide. They are also helping us in India in Chennai as well as in the upcoming factory in Sanand to take advantage of their design, innovation and ability to localise their supply chain. So, progressively we have been localising more and having been able to do that we are able to offer this very compelling price proposition.

Q: Is it going to be introductory offer? Are we going to see you move prices higher in a couple of months?

A: We are very mindful of our customers needs. They want the strong product proposition, at the same time they want a great product proposition. We will not waiver and lose sight of those requirements.

Q: So, who are you going to be competing against because the assumption was this is going to take on the Renault Duster which is entirely different also in price?

A: It is a new space. We expect our customers to come from a whole variety of segments. So, existing sedan owners, people who own hatchbacks, small SUVs, big SUVs, they might think that this is the right size SUV for their lifestyle. Therefore, our draw for customers is going to be from a whole range.

That’s the beauty of what we have done. It’s a fairly unique proposition that you are presenting to the Indian customers.

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