Mumbai: Ford India will launch a diesel variant of its mid-size vehicle Ford Fusion by the year-end. The company is betting on the new vehicle, powered by a 2.5 litre diesel engine, to enhance its share in the premium SUV market where it commands a 38 per cent market share.
"The diesel variant, to be launched by the third quarter of this year, will enable us to have a robust diesel portfolio," Ford India president and managing director, Arvind Mathew, said.
The company also launched a new version of its sports utility vehicle, Ford Endeavour, priced between Rs 14.7 lakh and Rs 15.62 lakh (ex showroom Delhi).
He said there was softening of demand in April and May due to a variety of factors, including rising interest rates, which tightened monetary supply, and the appreciation of the rupee. If the soft demand continued, the company would have to revise its sales growth target, he said.
Ford India, the wholly owned subsidiary of Ford Motors, sold 41,797 units in the year to March 2007, an increase of 45 per cent from the previous year, and aims to maintain its share of a market that is expected to nearly double to 2 million units by 2010.
Ford has sold about 7,000 units of the Endeavour since its launch in 2003 and has 38 per cent of the market share. There is about 15,000-units-a-year market for premium SUVs.
Endeavour is built in Ford's plant near Chennai with components imported from Thailand. Local parts make up about 30 per cent of the vehicle's requirement.
Ford makes 60,000 vehicles a year at its Chennai plant and has said it is studying various "localisation opportunities" to cut costs, and to compete more aggressively in the price-sensitive market.