CHENNAI, India — With the launch of the all-new EcoSport inching closer, Ford India’s sales consultants will soon be equipped with an encyclopedic knowledge of the global One Ford vehicle’s capabilities and technology-rich features.
Ford Academy India, which trains sales and service personnel, along with the Ford Asia Pacific Training, held a two-day ‘train the trainer’ program for a group of trainers from Ford’s partner organisation, Sewells. The program gave the group some hands-on experience with Ford’s latest urban SUV and allowed them to familiarize themselves with its features – knowledge they will now pass on to Ford’s sales consultants at dealerships across the country.
“It is very important to familiarize our trainers with the product as we get closer to the launch. This program gave them a unique opportunity to drive the product, look at its features from close quarters and clarify their doubts so that they can pass on the right message and knowledge to sales personnel,” said Santosh Kulkarni, director, Ford Academy India.
As many as six trainers from Sewells, several members of Ford India’s communications team along with Rusi Panda, EcoSport’s product manager, were part of the training that combined a classroom presentation, product exploration sessions and a drive at Ford India’s test-track. The participants were given a detailed training manual that explained the features in detail and had exercises to test their learning.
But it was the drive at the test track on the first day’s session that had the participants engrossed and raised their interested in the vehicle. Four pre-production EcoSport vehicles, including one with the award-winning 1.0 litre EcoBoost engine, were made available to the participants for a short spin on the test track and, at the end of the session, no one wanted to let go of the steering wheel.
The test track has been specially designed to simulate all types of driving conditions. They drove through potholed patches, rough tarmac and Belgian blocks, but the EcoSport’s sturdy build took everything in its stride.
“The build quality is really impressive. There is hardly any noise or vibration you feel inside due to its excellent suspension quality,” said Aizaj, one of the trainers.
“The EcoBoost engine is simply awesome with it has amazing pick-up. There is almost no lag and the performance is thrilling; the tilt and telescopic steering is a cool feature,” exclaimed Farid Ahmed, a trainer from Bangalore. “I had read so much about the superior performance of the EcoBoost, but after driving it, I could see how refined it is,” said Paresh Jagdale, another trainer.
The trainers were amazed to explore the various features of the vehicle such as 60-40 tumble back seats, under-seat storage, keyless door and boot unlock.
“The econometer, which shows up the approximate mileage based on the driving pattern of the driver, will be a hit with customers,” said Himanshu Tyagi, another participant.
Ford’s award-winning SYNC technology debuts in India with the EcoSport and the participants were impressed by the ease with which it was able to pair up with a mobile phone, make and take voice calls, send text messages and play music, all with their voice commands.
The EcoSport's ride quality proved to be incredible even in the pre-production phase and its remarkably small turning radius gave the participants a sense of it being the perfect fit for an urban environment that throws bad roads and tight parking spots at car owners and drivers.
“The SYNC version for EcoSport seems to have improved a lot, in understanding English pronunciation with Indian accents. This will be a much-liked feature, because it allows drivers to do so much without taking their hands off the steering wheel,” said Abhijit Joshi, the lead trainer for Sewells.
“It was good to see the trainees asking many questions and exploring the product features hands-on. The training met all of its objectives,” said Marc Zhu, product training manager from Ford Asia Pacific, who also attended the training.
Trainers were given a hands-on feel of the EcoSport.
Vehicles lined up on the test track for the test drive.