Gearing up for the launch of its compact car Figo next month, Ford on Tuesday opened 28 new dealerships across 24 cities, taking its presence to 97 cities across India. The U.S. car major also said it would phase out its hatchback Fusion from the Indian market due to its lower sales.
“Growing our dealership base, building strong business fundamentals and getting closer to our customers are areas of high priority as we gear up to launch our new Figo and enter this high volume segment in 2010,” said Ford India President and Managing Director Michael Boneham. Figo will be launched in March, while its commercial production had already begun at the company’s Chennai plant from jFebruary 5.
“Tier-II and Tier-III cities are significant for us. We have opened new facilities in 13 Tier-III cities, and more than 40 per cent of Ford service outlets are now located in secondary markets. As we expand, we are making sure that our low cost of ownership message is heard by people making buying decisions,” Mr. Boneham told journalists here. Referring to Fusion, Mr. Boneham said the company would discontinue it as the car was giving us relatively small volumes. The phasing out was part of a product rationalisation strategy with the firm looking to focus on the compact car segment, which comprises over 70 per cent of the Indian car market and was heading towards the 20-lakh sales a year, he added.
Showroom in Chennai
Our Chennai correspondent writes:
Ford has now 164 dealership facilities across 97 cities. Out of the 28 new dealership facilities, 14 will offer full 3S (showroom, sales and service) facilities. Seven of the new facilities are service workshops, providing full line of mechanical services. The remaining are sales showrooms, where visitors can find a full line-up of Ford vehicles.
Quick Service, a vehicle servicing process that allows routine service to be performed in less than 90 minutes, will now be available in 45 dealerships across India.
According to Nigel E. Wark, Executive Director (Marketing, Sales and Services) at Ford India, all the newly-inaugurated showrooms are Brand@Retail dealerships built according to Ford’s global standard. Mr. Wark, on Tuesday, inaugurated a new showroom of MPL Ford at Taramani Road in Chennai. With this, Ford has ten dealer facilities in Chennai, comprising three showrooms and seven workshops.
Addressing a press conference here, Mr. Wark said Ford India had tripled its dealer sales consultants from 480 in 2009 to around 1,500 this year.
Over 1,700 dealer personnel from 97 cities had been given in-depth training on the soon-to-be-launched Ford Figo, he added.