Ford unveils new compact utility vehicle 'Freestyle'

Automaker Ford India yesterday unveiled a new compact utility vehicle 'Freestyle', which is set to hit the market by April this year.

The 1.2 litre 3 cylinder petrol engine powered vehicle has five-speed manual transmission and can generate a power output of 96PS. 

In addition to SUV styling, the new model also features a 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system which is compatible with AppleCar Play and Android Auto.

"This is the global unveiling of the model in India and in next few hours it would be unveiled in South America as well," Ford India president and MD Anurag Mehrotra told reporters in New Delhi yesterday.

The model, which will roll out from the company's Sanand plant will be exported to major markets including Europe and the Middle East.

Ford currently exports vehicles from India to around 50 countries.

Mehrotra said Ford has also started shipments of its popular compact SUV Ecosport to North America.

He added that the company's engineers in India have started playing an important role in new product development meant for the country.

''The global unveiling of the Ford Freestyle strengthens Ford's continued commitment to India to bring products that consumers want and value,'' said Mehrotra. The new model will position the auto-maker to address growing consumers demand for SUV-like vehicles, especially the youth, he added.

''With the cool, capable and connected Ford Freestyle, we are adding yet another great product to our diverse portfolio that helps us expand our family of happy Ford owners in India,'' Mehrotra said.

The vehicle is expected to carry a price tag of Rs5.50 - Rs6 lakh.

According to commentators, compact SUVs alone have consistently outpaced overall domestic automotive sales in India, registering a three-fold growth between 2013 and 2016. In 2017, sales of SUVs in India grew 37 per cent as against 9 per cent total vehicle sales.