Ford rolls out newer models of Fiesta priced at Rs 7.10-8.14 lakhs

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New Delhi, Jun 19 (UNI) Ford Motor Co, the world's third largest automaker in terms of sales, today launched two new models of its successful Fiesta range--Fiesta 1.6 S and SXI-- in the price range of Rs 7.10-8.14 lakhs (ex-showroom Delhi).

''With the launch of these two models, we expect our market share and volumes to go up in a totally different fashion...We are targeting the new affluent customers of country,'' Ford India President and Managing Director Michael Boneham Michael Boneham told reporters here.

The bold styling of the new Fiesta indicates a clear move towards European designing cues and is a true reflection of Ford Fiesta's exciting on-road character, he added.

Fiesta 1.6 S is a sport variant, whereas SXI falls under the 'luxury' segment.

SXI's diesel version will cost Rs 8.14 lakhs, while the customer has to pay Rs 7.10 lakhs for the petrol variant.

Fiesta 1.6 S would be available only in the petrol version, priced at Rs 7.15 lakhs.

He added that since the launch of the mid-sized sedan in the country two-and-a-half years ago, Fiesta has sold more than 65,000 units.

The company, however, registered a 19 per cent dip in sales during 2007-08, as the domestic auto industry remained sluggish in the last fiscal, Mr Boneham said.

The company will also launch its small car for the Indian market by 2010 and also set up a new unit to manufacture engines in 2009-10 with a capacity of 2,50,000 units per year.

''The small car is on track for launch in 2010. We are looking at petrol and diesel engines and are keeping both options open,'' Mr Boneham said.

The company had earlier said it would invest about Rs 2,000 crore for setting up a small car production facility and an engine manufacturing unit.

At present, the small car segment holds 75 per cent share in the Indian market.

Asked whether the company plans to roll out a hybrid version, he termed the prospect as an ''expensive one'' for the Indian market and said the company preferred to look at alternative fuels.

On the government's decision to increase the excise duty on vehicles with higher engine capacities, Mr Boneham said, ''action like that is discomforting and government's policy needs to follow the vision they have set out (for the auto industry through the Automotive Mission Plan 2006-2016).'' He, however, said there is a need for open and transparent dialogue between the industry and the government.

The government recently increased the central excise duty by Rs 15,000 for large cars, multi-utility vehicles (MUVs) and sports utility vehicles (SUVs) with engine capacity ranging from 1,500 cc to 1,999 cc.

A specific excise duty of Rs 20,000 was also levied for vehicles with engine capacities of 2,000 cc and above.

UNI SBA SR RAI1844

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