The Covid-19 pandemic has affected the Indian auto sector again as states go into full lockdown. Ford India is among the worst hit with all of its models seeing a decline in sales. The automaker sold only a single unit of the Figo in April 2021.
Just when things were looking up for the Indian auto industry, recording consistent growth for the second half of FY2021, the increasing cases of Covid-19 infections and resulting lockdowns have impacted passenger vehicle sales in India again for April 2021. With many states going into a state of full lockdown and the remaining imposing tightening restrictions, all aspects of the auto sector including production, wholesale, retail sales and even auto registration is bearing the brunt of the situation. Ford India, which has been already struggling over the last few years to maintain a strong foothold in the Indian market, has been among the worst-hit companies. The automaker recorded a 29.55% month-on-month de-growth, with each model posting negative sales.
We would particularly like to talk about the Ford Figo, of which the automaker sold only a solitary unit in the Indian market last month. 219 units of the Figo were sold in March 2021, which means the hatchback saw a 99.5% decline in sales in April 2021 on a month-on-month basis. On a more positive note for the company, the Figo based Freestyle cross-hatch fared much better, selling 635 units in April 2021, even though it recorded a 7.84% dip in sales compared to March 2021.
In comparison, the Maruti Swift, one of the main rivals of the Figo, sold 18,316 units in April 2021. The Swift has been the best-selling vehicle in its segment for a while now, regularly posting sales figures that are miles ahead of the competition. Maruti’s hatchback also has been the best-selling overall vehicle for several months but was narrowly beaten in April 2021 by its sibling the WagonR. However, as a sign of how the pandemic is affecting the auto industry, even the Swift saw a 15.65% decline in sales compared to March 2021.
The biggest reason for the low sales of the Ford Figo is that it has started to feel dated compared to its rivals. The automaker hasn’t given the Figo an update in quite some time and that shows in its exterior and especially the interior, missing a few key features the competition now comes with. This is even though the Figo is offered with two engine options, including a diesel, a rarity in the segment. Engine options on the Figo include a 96PS, 1.2L NA 3-cylinder petrol engine and a 100PS 1.5L 4-cylinder turbo-diesel engine. Prices for the Ford Figo currently range between INR 5.82 - 8.37 lakh.
The Maruti Swift is priced between Rs 5.73 lakh - Rs 8.41 lakh. The hatchback recently received a mid-life facelift for 2021, getting a few cosmetic changes while new features such as cruise control, a coloured MID and auto-folding ORVMs have been added as well. The biggest change in the 2021 Swift is the new engine, the 1.2-litre four-pot K-Series Dual-Jet engine which also does duty on the Baleno. It makes peak power and torque figures of 90 PS and 113 Nm, respectively. The engine also comes with an idle start-stop function and can be mated to a 5-speed manual or a 5-speed AMT.
Do note all prices mentioned here are ex-showroom.