Ford plans new sedan to take on D’Zire and Etios
By Saahil Anant
Feb 10 2011
Mydigitalfc.com

India’s fourth largest carmaker, Ford India, plans to build a new India-specific mid-size sedan to replace the old laggard Ikon and challenge Maruti Suzuki’s Swift Dzire and Toyota’s Etios, according to an industry executive with direct knowledge of the company’s plan. The new sedan is likely to be launched next year.

Last month, Ford stopped production of the decade-old Ikon, a model that made it popular in India. The carmaker has started contacting suppliers for critical parts such as engine components for the new sedan, the industry executive added.

Nigel Wark, executive director of marketing and sales, Ford India, refused to divulge details about the new product, but confirmed that the company has stopped production of the Ikon. “The Ikon will make way for other products. We never make any specific product announcements and our plan is to launch eight new vehicles by 2015,” he said.

Automakers are focusing on sedans to woo hatchback customers, who constitute 65 per cent of car owners in the country and are looking to upgrade to a bigger car. Analysts believe that Ford could pull it off successfully with the new sedan, given the large production levels available apart from its experience of the sedan segment.

“The Figo is the only small car that has been able to eat into the volumes of market leaders Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai. If the new sedan is priced competitively between Rs 5 lakh to Rs 6 lakh and loaded with features as available in the Figo, it would eat into segment leader Swift Dzire’s market share,” research analyst at India Infoline Prayesh Jain said.

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Suzuki D'Zire is a sedan version of the World Swift.