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Ford Figo gives ’em curry

Spicy: Ford's Figo is a feather in the cap of its Australian creators, winning India's Car of the Year award.

True-blue Figo caps off Ford sales surge with Indian award

16 Dec 2010

THE Australian-developed car that has almost single-handedly put Ford on the map in India has been rewarded with that country’s 2011 Car of the Year award.

The Ford Figo – designed and engineered by Ford Australia from the previous generation Ford Fiesta – comfortably out-pointed three finalists from the Volkswagen Group – the VW Vento, VW Polo and Skoda Yeti.

The Figo has been a sensation on the Indian new-car market since it was launched in March, clocking up more than 60,000 sales and driving up Ford’s sales volumes in that country by 185 per cent this year.

The Figo accounts for almost three-quarters of Ford sales in India, and has become a huge export success, with 48 overseas markets set to take the light car in 2011. It is already exported to Nepal and South Africa, where it is also in Car of the Year contention.

Fresh markets could include Australia – the country where the Figo was designed and engineered as a low-cost hatch for emerging markets.

As GoAuto reported earlier this month, the Figo is being considered by Ford Australia to take the fight up to a plethora of new entry-level light cars such as the South Korean-made Holden Barina Spark and Suzuki Alto, which is made in India.

27 center imageHowever, a Figo for Australia might not necessarily come from India. Ford Australia is said to be designing another version of the Figo for China, where the Blue Oval has a partnership with Chinese car-maker Chang’an.

However, Ford Australia insiders have told GoAuto that any sub-Fiesta light car for Australia would be 12-to-18 months away.

In India, the Figo competes in the small-car segment, which accounts for more than 70 per cent of the new-vehicle market.

Chairman of the Indian COTY judging panel, Srinivas Krishnan, said the judges knew Ford had a potential winner on its hands as they lined up the contenders.

"The Figo’s crisp driving dynamics, two fuel-efficient engine options, cheerful styling and interiors and, of course, its terrific pricing, simply propelled it to the top of the honours list,” he said.

"It’s only appropriate that the Figo has won the Indian Car of the Year 2011 award, because Ford engineered the car specifically to cater to the needs of the Indian market."Contenders were the Chevrolet Beat, Ford Figo, Maruti Suzuki Wagon R, Nissan Micra, Skoda Yeti, Tata Aria, Volkswagen Polo and Volkswagen Vento.

The Figo emerged as the clear winner with 83 points, ahead of the Volkswagen Vento (57 points). The Volkswagen Polo and Skoda Yeti tied for third with 37 points.

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