Ford Enters India's Midsized Market After Escort Fails

The Ford Motor Co. says its future lineup in India is depending entirely on the success of its new Ikon model, which it unveiled last week. Ford CEO Jacques A. Nasser, who was in New Delhi to launch the Ikon, said the mood in the company "was one of cautious optimism. "The Ikon is an expression of all that we have learned in India. We have put in a lot of effort to reposition ourselves." The U.S. car maker first entered the big-sized Indian car market in November 1995 with its super luxury Escort. But three years with disappointing Escort sales of roughly 15,000 units annually forced the car maker to change tack. "With the Ikon we have now shifted our focus to the Indian midsized car segment, which we believe will grow the fastest in the immediate future," Nasser said. While analysts have forecasted a 12% growth in this segment, players such as Ford expect greater growth and are aiming to pocket an initial market share of 15%.

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