Ford India launches Figo Aspire compact sedan

by Shobha Mathur , 12 Aug 2015

Nigel Harris, president and MD of Ford India, at the launch of the new Figo Aspire.

In line with its ‘One Ford Plan’, Ford India today launched its second global model – the sub-4-metre Figo Aspire sedan in Delhi today.

Pricing for the Figo Aspire, which gets three engine options and is available in four trim levels, starts at Rs 4.89 lakh for the entry 1.2-litre Ti-VCT petrol model through to Rs 8.25 lakh for the 1.5-litre TDCi diesel Titanium Plus and Rs 7.79 lakh for the 1.5 Ti-VCT petrol (AT) Titanium (ex-showroom Delhi).

The high-on-safety Figo Aspire, which is the first model from the carmaker’s new Sanand plant in Gujarat, has many occupant protection features. About 45 percent of the body structure of the compact sedan is made of high-tensile steel that provides greater rigidity and strength and comes equipped with dual front airbags as standard fitment across variants. The car gets six airbags including side and curtain airbags for imparting an extra level of protection. In addition, the emergency assistance uses a Sync Bluetooth-paired phone to automatically call emergency responders about the vehicle and its location.

Smart technologies enable the driver to stay connected and digital. The Figo Aspire is also equipped with Sync with Applink, enabling control of phone entertainment and apps through voice commands. The MyKey technology lets the owner program keys with restricted driving modes.

The Aspire is available in four trim levels ¬– Ambiente, Trend, Titanium and Titanium+. The Ambiente trim is rather basic with standard features including dual airbags (standard across the range), air-conditioning, power steering and black plastic body panels like door handles and wing mirror covers. The Trend and Titanium trims get MyFord Dock along with features such as steering-mounted controls, and USB and Bluetooth connectivity. The top-spec Titanium+ trim gets a feature-rich interior with inclusions such as Ford’s SYNC infotainment system, six airbags and leather seats (both features being segment firsts).

Under the hood, Aspire gets three engine options – a 1.2-litre petrol available on all trim levels, a 1.5-litre TDCi engine also available on all trim levels and a 1.5-litre petrol only available on the Titanium trim level. The smaller petrol unit generates 86.8bhp and is mated to a five-speed manual transmission. The 1.5-litre diesel is a more powerful version of the units in the EcoSport and Fiesta and is rated at 98.6bhp, also mated to a five-speed manual gearbox. The 1.5-litre petrol unit develops 110.5bhp and is mated to a segment-first six-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox as standard.

The Ford Figo Aspire enters a highly competitive compact sedan segment and will rival the likes of the Maruti Dzire, Hyundai Xcent, Tata Zest and Honda Amaze.

Nigel Harris, president and MD of Ford India, said at the launch that in the Asia Pacific region, China and India are the two important markets for Ford and by 2020 India would be the third largest automotive market in the world, after China and the USA.

The launch of the Figo Aspire sedan will be followed by two more product launches over the coming six months including the next-generation Figo hatchback before the festive season and the Endeavour SUV next year.

The carmaker is looking at upping its domestic sales with these three new models. Ford India recorded a fall of 32.89 percent in domestic sales between April-July 2015 with sales of 18,546 units.

The company will begin exporting a Figo Aspire model which will be longer than 4 metres, according to Anurag Mehrotra, executive director, sales and marketing.

To streamline sales of the Figo Aspire, Ford India will have 350 sales and service points in 186 cities that will be ramped up based on demand. The carmaker has opened parts distribution centres in some cities like Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala and within the next 12 months plans to add many other states to it. It has also devised a new low-cost network model that includes setting up small format sales and service dealerships instead of large ones in small cities that will be an extended network and bring more customers to outlets.

To ensure genuine parts supply for servicing, Ford India has set up a chain of parts distributors to bring  down costs and ensure easy availability of these parts. Sub-assembly parts that accounted for 200 in the Figo in 2010 have now risen to 848 sub-assembly parts with the Aspire. Supply of these parts will enable only damaged parts to be changed during servicing that will reduce costs by 90 percent, said Mehrotra.

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