FORD CEO ALAN MULLALY took the wraps off the Ford's upcoming Indian-market Figo city car today, revealing a vehicle that the American automaker hopes will become a big seller in the emerging Indian market.
To be built at Ford's Indian assembly plant in Chennai, the Figo will take on the Maruti Suzuki Alto and the Tata Nano in the small car segment which accounts for 70 percent of all new car sales in India.
Production is slated to start in early 2010. The Figo will be built atop the previous generation Ford Fiesta's platform, a new front end and new door metal setting it apart from its forebear.
Mechanical specifications won't be released until closer to the car's Indian launch, but Ford says it is also building the Figo with export markets in mind.
Right-hand drive Figos built in India will be exported to several Asian countries, with Australia potentially being one of them.
It's too early to definitively say whether the Figo will be heading for our shores or not, but Ford Australia spokesperson Sinead McAlary says the pint-sized five-seater is under consideration.
"At this stage we're still looking into it," Ms McAlary told TMR today.
"It's not on our immediate radar, but it is something we're looking at potentially for the long-term."
European exports are reportedly on the cards for the Figo (which means "cool" in Italian), and Ford is aiming it squarely at the cut-price Tata Nano.
Pricing details have yet to be announced, but Ford India boss Michael Boneham said it will be an enticing proposition for new car buyers in India.
"It?s going to be very competitive with the current market leaders and offer a tremendous value story for our consumers," said Mr Boneham.
"We believe Ford Figo is a big game-changer for Ford that will help transform our brand into a volume player in India."