MUMBAI, India — At the Hard Rock Café, the hippest joint in the busy Mumbai suburb of Worli, Ford banners declaring “Get Ready to Welcome Change” and “Change is a Wonderful Thing” shared the stage with photos of rock icons Eric Clapton, Bono, Jim Morrison and Madonna.
The Hard Rock café chain, dedicated to the theme of rock ‘n roll, formed the perfect backdrop for the Ford India launch of the New Figo, an enriched version of the popular sub-compact that has been declared India's Most Awarded Car.
Nestled in a warehouse with an old world look, with unpainted walls that sport collections of performance costumes worn by rock stars, their prized guitars, and rare photographs of musicians from Elvis to Iron Maiden, the café offered a warm and cozy atmosphere to announce the changes in the New Figo, including 10 in styling.
Journalists from leading daily newspapers and TV news networks filled the venue as Michael Boneham, president, Ford India, took the stage and began by thanking Ford customers for making the Figo an enormous success in such a short time.
"After we launched the Figo two years in the ‘Maximum City’ of Mumbai, it has been a phenomenal journey. With over 20 awards, it has become the most awarded car in India, selling over 235,000 units in India and around the world. Let's not forget your trust and confidence in Ford that has brought us this far," Boneham said.
"I am proud to introduce the New Figo, which features over 100 changes."
But as Boneham was about to introduce the changes, a voice from the audience shot up a loud "But why?" surprising the managing director and all those present.
A man stood up screaming, "But why did you change my Figoooo?” Another lady from the audience soon joined him, "I also agree with the man over there; the existing Figo has style, grace and flair."
As the emcee rushed to calm them down, and as Boneham himself tried to interject by declaring, "that's what we do all the time in the auto industry," another two members of the audience erupted, praising the Figo for its driving pleasure and good braking.
"Those kinda standards are hard to beat, when there is legroom, in front and back seat," one audience member said.
The performance, unbeknown to the attending media, was of course all part of Ford’s planned presentation, adding some spice and entertainment to the show.
The emcee then proceeded to list the wonderful changes made to the new Figo, such as the all new exterior design, the new cubbyholes that offer lots of storage space, and the new Bluetooth and iPod connection that allows customers to travel with their favourite music.
Well-conceived and flawlessly executed, the musical and dramatic introduction took the audience by surprise, while an impromptu musical performance enlivened the atmosphere.
Finally, hardcore Figo fans gathered around to inspect the changes and then joined in singing the song’s chorus, Change is a wonderful thing!
Anurag Mehrotra, vice-president, Marketing, Ford India, took the audience through the array of changes in the New Figo.
"But some things remain unchanged, like the best-in-class boot and passenger space, the swiftly cooling AC with the largest compressor and the Bluetooth enabled entertainment,” he said.
The final surprise was the price, which was announced by Boneham, Mehrotra and N. Raja, vice president, Sales. The audience was impressed with the starting price of INR 384,999 (US$ 7,265), ex-showroom, Delhi.
When the trio invited the media to have a closer look at the car parked outside, photographers scrambled to shoot the Bright Yellow New Figo basking in the morning sun. Boneham and other executives were quizzed about the changes introduced, Ford's expanding footprint in India and its various service initiatives to reach out to customers in tier-two and three cities.
The launch in Mumbai will be followed by regional launch functions in five other cities. Ushering in a change the way media drives are conducted, Ford India also introduced a Figo Night Drive in Mumbai to show off the car's improved headlamps and its enhanced driving capabilities to journalists and bloggers this week.
Media from leading daily newspapers and TV news networks packed the Hard Rock Café for the New Figo launch.
Anurag Mehrotra, vice president, Marketing, Ford India, prepares to reveal the starting price of the New Figo to the gathered media.
||Michael Boneham, president and managing director, Ford India, Anurag Mehrotra, vice president, Marketing, and N Raja, vice president, Sales, pose with the New Figo after its launch in Mumbai on Monday.|