The made-in-India, second-generation Ford Figo will be sold as the Ka+ in the UK starting October this year, Autocar UK reported today.
Priced from £8,995 (Rs 8.85 lakh), the five-door Ka+ will replace the three-door Ka sold in the country, as an affordable option which will slot below the highly popular Fiesta hatchback in the UK market.
It can be recalled that Autocar Professional had reported in December last year about Ford India's plans to export the Figo and Figo Aspire models to Europe from its Sanand plant.
Ford UK has already started taking orders and the first cars will be delivered in October. Built at Ford India’s Sanand manufacturing plant in Gujarat, the new model has been heavily revised for Europe, with standard equipment which includes six airbags, Ford’s Sync voice-activated phone and audio system, a smartphone docking station, a speed limiter and hill start assist.
The car will only be offered with one five-door hatchback bodystyle, in two trim levels, Style and Zetec. It will be powered by a 1.2-litre four-cylinder engine, which is closely related to the 1.25-litre engine found in the Fiesta, but is cheaper to make.
It is understood the car will come with a choice of two power outputs — 69bhp and 84bhp — although the lower-powered engine won’t be offered at launch in the UK.
Darren Palmer, Ford’s boss of B-car projects, believes the higher-output, £10,295 (Rs 10.13 lakh) Zetec will be the most popular model but points out that even the entry-level car is well equipped.
Buyers who choose the 84bhp engine can get options including climate control, a leather-covered steering wheel with cruise control, alloy wheels, heated front seats, a DAB radio, rear parking sensors and heated/folding mirrors.
The European Ka+ rides a little lower than the Indian and South American versions, and its ride and handling are much more in keeping with European tastes.
Ford has in the past resisted associations with the budget end of the market, but this time it has named the Kia Rio and Dacia Sandero as competitors for the Ka+, mainly because they offer the same recipe of impressive accommodation for the money.
Ford claims class-leading front headroom and rear legroom, aided by the fact that the Ka+ is 42mm higher than the Fiesta, sits on the same 2489mm wheelbase (because it uses Ford’s global small car platform) and, at 3929mm overall, is only 20mm shorter.
The Ka+ is the third Ford model to carry the Ka badge, but it is quite different from the first two following a comprehensive change in Ford’s thinking about how to make money from small cars.
The original Ka started life 20 years ago as a sub-B-segment premium city car; the second was another city car, this time produced in Poland in co-operation with Fiat.
The latest-generation Ka+ is all Ford, but it achieves economies of scale because it is already a volume-selling model in India and South America.
Figo’s export performance
Ford launched the second generation Figo in India in September last year. The car received good initial response but as the excitement fizzled out, the car’s sales have also dipped. Until April, the company had sold nearly 20,000 units of the car in the domestic market.
Soon after the domestic launch Ford India commenced exports of the Figo to markets like Mexico, Middle East and South Africa. Ford has invested US$ 1 billion in the Sanand plant in line with the automaker’s goal to triple exports from the country in the next five years. Ford currently exports cars to 40 countries from India.
So far, it has exported over 6,000 units of the Figo and with the start of exports to Europe next month, the number will rack up even faster. Ford is among the list of global automakers which export more vehicles than they sell in the domestic market. In FY2016, the company shipped 110,840 units to various export markets, while the domestic sales during the same period stood at 79,944 units. While the export volumes have been growing consistently over the last 5 fiscals, domestic sales have contracted thrice during the same period.