Ford plans a low cost, sub-Fiesta B-segment hatchback: A-la-Figo?
News of Ford deciding to build a sub-Fiesta low cost hatchback first gained momentum when buzz about the American car maker mulling a Chevrolet Sail rival for the Chinese marketfirst emerged last week. Now though, the buzz seems to have gained plenty of momentum with Ford’s top honcho, Alan Mullaly, hinting that the company that he heads is indeed considering a low cost B-segment hatchback to be positioned under the Fiesta hatchback. The hatchback, which is expected to be based on the Fiesta, could be a watered down version of the car, mainly as a price warrior.
Also, the car could be launched as a global model given that most of Ford’s new cars are aimed at selling in markets across the globe, under the One Ford philosophy. Many automakers across the auto industry are launching budget brands that are aimed primarily at developing car markets. Examples of such brands include the Romanian car brand Dacia, which is now owned by French automaker Renault, Datsun, which was resurrected earlier this year as a low cost brand of Japanese automaker Nissan and Daihatsu, which is another low cost brand owned by Toyota.
While the Dacia and the Datsun brands produce low cost cars, Ford doesn’t have any plans of hiving off the car into a low cost brand in itself, like say the way Renault did with the Dacia Logan. Instead, the car will be positioned as a lower cost option, that will sit under the hot selling Fiesta hatchback. Ford plans to use the “One Ford” philosophy to underpin the platform of the new B-segment hatchback with that of a global platform, which could very well be the B-Car platform upon which the Fiesta is based on, along with sourcing parts globally.
In the past, Ford has used a global platform to develop a low cost car for emerging markets like India and Brazil. A classic case in point is the previous generation Fiesta based B-segment hatchback that sells in India as the Figo and in Brazil as the Novo Fiesta. The Figo was the car, which single handedly made Ford a household name in the country, by being more accessible to a majority of B-segment hatchback buyers due to its value pricing. So, a car similar to the Figo is what one can expect to be spawned out of the latest Fiesta B-Car platform, albeit a bigger one at that. Details about a launch time frame remains unknown at this moment. Watch this space.