While we still process the news of Ford shutting down its production in India, we can’t deny the history and impact that it had on the Indian market. From giving Indians a taste of fun to drive cars to creating new segments, Ford has bought some major changes to the Indian car market. Let’s take a look at the cars from Ford which left a great impact on the Indian automotive industry:
Though Ford started its India innings with the Escort and the Mondeo, the Ikon is the car that made everyone notice Ford. With the famous tagline of ‘josh machine’, the Ikon impressed everyone with its fun to drive nature. It featured a series of ROCAM petrol and diesel engines ranging from 1.3L to 1.8L. The Ikon was a hit among the masses, thanks to its impressive handling, solid build and features. Sales took off for Ford and this is when they first tasted success in India. The Ikon constantly received updates to stay relevant despite the launches of newer, modern sedans. The Ikon was on sale for almost 10 years before it was discontinued. Ask any Gen X or millennial car enthusiast about Ford and they would surely tell stories about the Ikon!
The current SUV market is dominated by Toyota Fortuner, however, people tend to forget that the Ford Endeavor actually kick-started the trend of the body on frame 4×4 SUVs! Launched in 2003, the Endeavour was nothing like the Indian market had seen before! The SUV was of a different breed when compared to the Scorpios and Safaris of yesterday! With its butch looks and go-anywhere capability, the SUV was a hit among the people especially the Bollywood stars and Politicians.
Indians are obsessed with crossovers and even cross hatchbacks. However, people don’t realize that the Ford Fusion was one of the first cross hatchbacks back in the 2000s! Based on the Fiesta, the Fusion was a practical crossover with tons of space and ground clearance. The car was so ahead of its time that nobody knew what the Fusion could be classified as! A hatchback? An SUV? Nobody knew that the Fusion was what the Indians want today! It shared its engines and interiors with Fiesta. Like every Ford, it was a hoot to drive. Not just that, it was a boon to drive it over bad roads thanks to the ground clearance and the sorted suspension. The Fusion didn’t get a great response from the market and it was soon discontinued.
The Ford Fiesta was highly sought after by enthusiasts thanks to its perfectly tuned hydraulic steering and suspension. Looking at the Fiesta’s success, Ford India introduced the Fiesta S, a Fiesta for the enthusiasts. It got the naturally aspirated 1.6-litre Duratec petrol from the standard Fiesta but its ECU was tuned for more top-end whack. The already competent suspension and steering were tinkered by Ford as well and nothing came close to it at that time. The Fiesta S also got the exclusive ‘Aquarius Blue’ shade which remains iconic to this day. The car still commands a premium in the used car market and that is only if owners are willing to part with it!
How can we forget the car which kickstarted the craze of compact SUVs in our market today? The Ecosport was the first compact SUV that saw success in the Indian car market. The Ecosport had everything going for it: solid build, modern looks, typical Ford handling, a wide range of engine options and plenty of features. The Ecosport was launched at a killer price of ₹5.58 lakhs which disrupted the Indian car market. Many hatchbacks and sedan buyers flocked the Ford showrooms to buy the Ecosport.
So much so that the waiting period went up to 6 months or even more! The Ecosport introduced a lot of firsts in the Indian car market as well. It introduced the 1.0 litre 3-cylinder turbocharged Ecoboost engine, the 6-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, Ford’s SYNC software with voice commands and also high levels of safety with emergency assistance and 6 airbags! The Ecosport remains competent to this day thanks to the major facelift it received in 2017. Despite its age, the compact SUV still did healthy monthly sales figures till Ford stopped production.