Ford Figo – Ford’s Game Changer

The American giant’s best selling car in the Indian market has been the Figo. Launched just over a year back, Figo has already clinched no less than twenty different awards from various automotive publications, websites and television channels. It seems that the hard work put in by the guys at Ford has finally paid off.

Before the introduction of the Ford Figo, Ford was finding it hard to mark their territory properly in the Indian market. This was a company plagued with problems like poor re-sale value, high maintenance costs, inconsistent quality etc. Their best bet was the Ikon which was doing decent numbers, especially in the taxi segment. However, India being the land of hatchbacks meant Ford had to have a small car specially designed keeping in mind the needs and desires of the Indian consumers.

For starters, the car looks bold yet has an under-stated appeal about it. There are enough modern design touches and this combined with a huge range of color options means there is a Figo for almost every taste. Step inside and the Figo sets a benchmark for small hatchbacks. It is not only airy but has enough room to beat most similarly priced small cars like the Maruti Estilo. The design of the console is brilliant, quality top notch and enough practical touches to keep families happy.

Diesel is emerging as the common man’s favorite fuel and Ford was clever enough to make use of the same powerplant that powers the Fiesta, though in a different state of tune. It does its job pretty well in the Figo and is very fuel efficient as well. Another feather in the Figo’s cap is the way it handles in traffic. It is very nimble and the suspension is further tuned to take on Indian roads properly – something that most small cars today miss out on.

Ofcourse there are a few limitations with the Figo. Being a low slung car, getting in and out for the elderly can be an issue. Even the top end variant doesn’t get rear power windows and the petrol engine is weak on both performance as well as fuel economy. However, the positives easily outweigh the negatives here and this is the reason why Ford is busy minting money with the Figo, both in India and abroad.

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Tractor Sales – India (FY 2010-2011)

YOY comparison of tractor sales of various manufacturers 

M&M holds a majority market share (almost 40%) in the tractor industry. They also grew a stupendous 22% in terms of volumes when compared to last year. The volumes include the sales done through Swaraj divison (Punjab Tractors) which is the market leader in many parts on Northern India. Tractor division has always been one of the most profitable arm of the Mahindra Group. But they are facing stiff competition in form of John Deere & New Holland India who have tremendously revised their prices to gain volume in India.

The most promising of the lot were John Deere and New Holland India which grew by about 44% and 40% respectively. Both are infusing world-class well engineered products in the Indian market, at the same time at a very competitive price. They still have a long way to go in terms of penetration in the Indian market when compared to the market leader M&M.
The second biggest tractor manufacturer TAFE group had a decent growth of 17%. Its most famous brand Massey Ferguson (also the name of its partner) has tremendous brand equity among tractor buyers. Its acquisition of Eicher’s Tractor Division (way back in 2005) has also helped it grow inorganically both in terms of volumes and technology.
The increase in buying power of the rural market has also led to a sustainable growth in this segment. We all are well aware that tractor divison was the only sector in automobile market which was not affected by recession.
Escorts and ICML’s Sonalika tractors also had a much sustained growth of 22% & 21% respectively. These two old warhorses of the tractor industry have evolved and are striving their best to retain their market share.  HMT is losing its hold and has de-grown. VST tillers have also grown by about 26%.

Overall the Tractor Industry in India has grown by a healthy 24% and this number is surely bound to raise higher this fiscal.

Special thanks for providing the raw data: Mr. Paresh Rastogi