Ford Motor Company of South Africa has issued a media release that the carmaker is to launch production of its Figo small car in India in early 2010.
Ford has invested $500 million at a plant in southern Indian city of Chennai and has said the plant was gearing up for production of a small car.
India's domestic auto market is relatively small, especially considering a population of more than 1.1 billion, with about 1.5 million passenger vehicles being sold last year and small cars account of nearly two-thirds of annual unit sales.
Though the Figo is aimed at India's emerging car market, the press release mentions that it is destined for export to other international markets too.
Despite that there is no official indication yet if the Figo will make its way to South Africa it seems to be on the radar for cash-strapped local consumers. For example Ford currently doesn't have a competitor in the lower-end of the market, and Wheels24 suspects that the Figo might be the right product to take aim at budget players such as the Hyundai i20, Suzuki Alto and Renault Sandero. Also, the fact that Ford issued the release to local media could be a sign that Ford is considering the Figo for our market.
The Figo, which means "cool" in Italian, is based on the previous generation Fiesta. Ford is reserving further details about the vehicle until closer to its production launch early in 2010.
Ford's new Figo is based on the previous Fiesta.