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Ford to stop production of bestseller Ikon - nairrk - 02-09-2011

The most well-known Ford vehicle on Indian roads, the Ikon, is being driven into history. Ford India confirmed on Tuesday that it has stopped production of this 9-year old car model to make way for newer products.

The company has already announced plans to bring in eight new products, based on its global platforms, by 2015 and is already preparing to launch a brand new car later this year.

Confirming the ceasing of production of the Ikon, Ford India president and managing director Michael Boneham told DNA, “We will be discontinuing the Ikon. We need to reduce the number of products in our production facility to allow for new products to be launched. The first of our eight new products will be unveiled later this year.”

As of February 1, Ford has discontinued the sale of Ford Ikon from the non-Bharat Stage IV markets.

Last year, it had stopped selling Ikon in BS IV markets also. The company has sold 1,34,000 Ikons till now and till last month, the car was available in 1.3 petrol and 1.4 diesel versions for Rs5 and Rs5.6 lakh (ex-showroom prices).

Boneham said that Ikon was a much-loved car but had begun to face a “legacy problem” since it was not built on Ford’s global platforms and was not being manufactured anywhere else in the world.

“We are committed to moving to global platforms.....but let me assure Ikon owners that significant and ongoing support will be given to them for parts and servicing”.

Though Boneham did not provide any details of the new car coming from Ford this year, the industry is abuzz with reports of Ford considering to bring down the price of the existing Fiesta, closer to the price of the outgoing Ikon.

Meanwhile, it will launch the new car, expected to be a Fiesta saloon, by mid-year. The new saloon could be priced at a significant premium to the marked down Fiesta, thereby retaining Ford’s presence in both segments.

To a question on capacity constraints, Boneham said that the company’s production facility at Chennai was working at full capacity, on a 2-shift basis, six days a week and it was imperative to plan products in accordance with the company’s stated objective of bringing 8 new products by 2015.

Ford has witnessed runaway success with the Figo hatchback, which sold 8,600 units last month and over 68,000 units since its launch in March 2010. The company’s production capacity is 2 lakh units.