NEW DELHI, India – Like many proud parents on the subcontinent who hope their children gain international experience, Ford India is sending its over-achieving baby abroad now that it has come of age. The phenomenal Ford Figo, which celebrates the first anniversary of an extraordinary year today, will be exported to Mexico and more than 50 other international markets this year.
"Happy birthday Figo!" said Alan Mulally, president and CEO, Ford Motor Company, in a specially taped video message broadcast at events in Delhi and Chennai. "Since launching the phenomenal Figo last year, we've sold almost 80,000 vehicles and it has earned more than 20 awards, making the Figo one of the fastest selling and most awarded vehicles in the Indian auto industry. We are now delighted to export it to more than 50 markets internationally from our world class manufacturing facility in Chennai. I was honored to help unveil it in 2009 and am sending my very best birthday wishes to our customers, employees, dealers and suppliers."
The Figo was developed with a focus on value, quality and driving enjoyment for the sub-compact segment in India and other international markets. It has dramatically transformed Ford India, reinforcing Ford's commitment to India and its future plans here.
"The Figo and its success are symbolic of Ford's ambitious expansion plans in India and throughout Asia Pacific," said Joe Hinrichs, president, Ford Asia Pacific and Africa. "We invested USD 500 million in our Chennai assembly plant to double its capacity to 200,000 units and to build a new, state-of-the-art engine plant. Today, both plants are humming along as we continue moving forward with plans to bring eight new vehicles to India by the middle of the decade."
Since the Figo launch, Ford has continued to expand its dealer network and today has a retail presence in more than 170 outlets in more than 100 cities.
Ford India is holding a celebration today in Delhi and with its employees at its manufacturing facility in Chennai to mark the Figo anniversary and to recognise the 50 markets where it will be sold this year.
Ford India's Chennai assembly plant has increased its output in order to keep up with domestic and international demand for the Figo. It can now produce up to 200,000 units annually, and in addition to making Figos and other vehicles, it is in the process of preparing to launch the all-new global Fiesta. The Chennai plant is a state-of-the-art facility equipped with Ford's environmentally friendly and energy-efficient three wet paint technology. Ford's Chennai engine plant can produce 250,000 gasoline and diesel engines per year.
"The phenomenal Figo has taken Ford to a new level in India," said Michael Boneham, president and managing director, Ford India. "Our manufacturing operations have grown so much that we've doubled our workforce in the last two years. Overall, Ford’s businesses in India now have 10,000 passionate employees. Today, on this auspicious anniversary, we are thankful to every one of them, and especially our customers, dealers, and suppliers for making this possible."
The Figo went on sale in South Africa and Nepal in July 2010 and October 2010, respectively. So far, almost 10,000 Figos have been exported from Chennai. The vehicle will be shipped to various international markets, including Mexico, Middle East, North Africa and Caribbean markets beginning April 2011, and will be on sale by mid-year.
The Figo has been one of the most successful launches for Ford India – it sold 25,000 vehicles in 100 days, and 50,000 in just six months. Customers and industry experts have been unanimous in saying that it is the best ‘value for money’ product in its class.
As part of a recent "Discover Smart Drive" campaign across 10 cities in India in which four newlyweds drove and blogged about their experiences in the Figo, Ford dealers raised USD 44,000 (Rs 20 lakh) to renovate two schools in underdeveloped communities.
Between December and January, Figo and Ford India together earned 20 Indian auto industry honours for 2010, making Figo the most awarded passenger car in India.
The Ford Figo was voted Indian Car of the Year 2011 – the most prestigious auto award in India – by a jury panel of leading automotive magazine editors. It also won four 'Car of the Year' awards, as well as Small Car of The Year, Compact Car of the Year, Design of the Year, Viewers' Choice and Readers' Choice from various other media organizations. It was named among the leaders in customer satisfaction in the Upper Premium Compact segment according to the latest 2010 Total Customer Satisfaction (TCS) study by TNS, a leading market-research agency.