Joginder Singh, president and managing director, Ford India

Joginder Singh, president and managing director, Ford India

Autocar Pro News DeskBy Autocar Pro News Desk calendar 05 Aug 2013 Views icon2736 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
Joginder Singh, president and managing director, Ford India

Do you think the sudden recall of the diesel EcoSport just two weeks after the launch could impact its sales?
I would say that our customers were appreciative of how we quickly turned around and proactively contacted them to replace and relocate the glow plug module in their diesel EcoSports. We are totally committed to the quality of our products and customer satisfaction. This potential concern was discovered in 972 EcoSport diesels which were delivered after the launch. We have now almost completed the voluntary action. We recorded over 30,000 bookings for the EcoSport in just 17 days of launch. We knew our EcoSport would receive a great response but this kind of demand is unprecedented. We are working closely with suppliers to enhance output of the EcoSport, reduce the waiting period and meet this high demand.

I understand the waiting period is around 3 months. So will the recall of the diesel SUV push the waiting period further?
The waiting period ranges between 3-6 months across 10 variants, depending on the variant the customer chooses. The waiting period for the petrol one is extended. For the diesel EcoSport, it is around 3-4 months as there is more demand for this variant. Since the relocation of the glow plug module is only in 972 diesels, the waiting will not be pushed any further.

What did the investigations reveal?
As part of the routine checks, we had discovered a potential concern with EcoSport diesel variants, related to the ingress of moisture in the glow plug module. Ford India engineers discovered this potential concern and were quick to arrive at a solution, which was to replace and relocate the module to a more protected area in the engine bay.

Coming to the Figo, it has lost a lot of momentum in the recent past. Are there plans to revive it or offer buyer sops?
After the EcoSport launch, footfalls at dealerships have increased. We are happy to see consumers actually spending time in our showrooms, wanting to know more about our vehicles and acknowledging their value proposition, including that of the Figo. Our compact car has been our volumes driver and there is continued interest and aspiration for it.

What are your plans on the retail front given the slowdown?
Indeed, the market has been challenging for the entire automobile industry. High input costs and soaring interest rates have impacted sales. These economic uncertainties will always prevail. But we are committed to our customers and offer them the best value for their money.

How do you expect increasing prices of petrol and diesel to affect the sales mix of the Figo and EcoSport?
While fuel prices are fluctuating, the disparity between petrol and diesel prices is still considerable. We will continue to supply as per the market demand and are currently seeing a 90:10 mix in favour of diesel. Having said that, we already have on offer our petrol power of choice with the 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine and our proven 1.5-litre Ti-VCT.

Given that the 1-litre EcoBoost engine is still being imported, what is the way forward in terms of localisation?
Localisation is always a long-term strategy and our engines and vehicles are a part of this strategy in the long term. While we currently importing the 1.0-litre EcoBoost, we wish to progressively localise complex technologies to ensure cost effective manufacturing that benefits consumers. Our powertrain facility in Chennai has a flexible assembly line that is capable of delivering engines as per the market demand.

Are the 2.0-litre engines manufactured in Chennai being considered for India as well?
Our facility in Chennai is a hub of excellence for manufacturing compact passenger vehicles and low- displacement engines. For our products in India, we are focusing on the 1.0 Ecoboost, 1.5 Ti-VCT, 1.5 TDCi, 1.4 TDCi and the 1.2 Duratec.

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