Ford India is betting big on its new platform which is expected to pin a slew of new models for a major sales boost. This new platform is being developed for India and other emerging markets to offer a low cost solution which can churn in new hatches and sedans.
The new platform going by the codename B563 will cater to higher premium segments and the first model off it will be a premium hatchback that will be positioned right above the Figo bang against the likes of best selling Maruti Suzuki Baleno and Hyundai i20. The same platform will also underpin a full mid-size sedan that will sit above the Ford Aspire compact sedan and compete against the likes of Honda City and Skoda Rapid. This new sedan will essentially seal the major void in For India’s product lineup after the discontinuation of its Fiesta sedan model.
“The Fiesta (B299 platform) was essentially a car made for Europe and the cost structure was too high for India and that made it unviable. The B563 platform allows us to be far more cost efficient which is the key to competitive pricing in India,” says a Ford official on condition of anonymity.
It will be quite sometime before the new models based on this platforms reaches Indian showrooms, most likely by 2020. By the time, Ford India has to ensure that its models and engines meet up to the stringent crash and emission norms which are going to be effected by 2023 when Real Driving Emissions (RDE) test cycle is expected to be implemented. Ford is already developing its new engines under the ‘Dragon’ family to meet the future norms.
For a long time, Ford India had been planning to fill the gap about the Figo twins. The B563 platform is not a platform that is being developed completely from grounds up but is rather based on the existing B562 platform currently underpinning the Figo twins. This new platform will be modified extensively and will help Ford to keep the costs low and churn out newer products. Ford will ensure the products from both the platforms co-exist and will use pricing as the major differentiator.
Curently, Ford India’s market share is a minuscule 3% and launching of new products to attract the market while being cost effective is the only way forward for the American company.