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Looking To Redisrupt Compact SUV Market With Ecosport: Ford India
Ford India's parent company in the US has made enough investments on electric vehicles globally and is committed to launch 13 zero-emission vehicles globally by 2020. A handful of them might also come over to India.
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Ford India Private Limited, which has entered the Indian market way back in 1995, is focusing on a sustainable growth rather than regaining its lost market share. On the sidelines of launching the refreshed version of Ford EcoSport, Vinay Rana, the company’s Executive Director- Marketing, Sales & Service, tells BW Businessworld that the aforesaid model will redisrupt the compact SUV segment which it had created in 2013.
How important is EcoSport for Ford India vis-à-vis other models in its lineup? What are your expectations from this model?
I would just say that the EcoSport was a category creator. It is the vehicle that created the compact SUV segment in the country (in 2013). It is an extremely strong and cult brand. If you talk about Indian brands, it is one of those one which has done that. We believe that the new product will now enhance whatever is being done in the past. The prices are the outcome of all the great work that all our engineers and purchase people have done together to help us deliver savings and costs the benefits of which have been passed on to our customers. There is a lot more content with a killer price tag offered to our customers. EcoSport has delivered extremely good volumes for us and I see no reason to redisrupt the compact SUV market with a refreshed version. It will be an important pillar in our volumes story and would continue to delight customers in the years to come.
Like the outgoing version, will the updated version of EcoSport also exported from India?
Yes, this will continue to go to mature and emerging markets across the globe. It will certainly go to North America and many prominent countries.
You have recently announced your collaboration with M&M. Can you specify the areas which you will be working on for the same?
The memorandum that we have signed (with M&M) is a three year alliance that we have worked on. We have certain advantages that we can bring to the table with our global technologies, scale, etc., as well as the understanding of the automotive business. We have to give respect to the Mahindra brand as they have a lot to offer as well in terms of their understanding of the Indian market as well as their ability to be cost competitive. We are looking at opportunities in which we can both use our strengths and learn from each other and see what can be done. As we get to know more, we will be able to share further details.
With the influx of Ola and Uber, is individual mobility coming down?
There are many schools of thought on this and reams have been written about it. I would just say that even though that category (of taxi aggregators) is growing, the desire to own a car hasn’t changed. Whether you drive a lot or you don’t, there is still an inherent desire to own a vehicle. We don’t see that changing the buying patterns of our customers. Although we do hear a lot of new technologies like Autonomous Driving, etc., coming into play, the ownership (of cars) will be important in the foreseeable future.
When do you intend to break into the top 5 players in the PV space which you were at some point of time?
What we are more focused on is profitable and sustainable growth. If you see a lot of volumes that is being delivered today are being done on the back of significant discounting by our competitors. In my view, that is not a sustainable outcome. It is not good for the industry as well. You can’t keep on delivering that level of sustained discounts and build volumes. So we have decided that we will make the trade-off between what is the appropriate value and what the appropriate volumes are. We will continue to walk this path to ensure what we maximize the results for our customers. We will deliver an outstanding value package in terms of products at the appropriate price.
Lastly, how well geared are you for the all-electric fleet push by the government?
It is a topic that will take time. The government has already made its point of view very clear. It is slightly different to what you hear from other markets. At the same time, the products will be made available at the appropriate time. We have made enough investments going around electric vehicles globally. We are committed to launch 13 zero-emission vehicles globally by 2020. From a product portfolio standpoint, we are gearing towards it and ensuring that we will hopefully have it available. It all depends in terms of when the infrastructure for it is available in the country. We will then get the right product.