Fiesta pricing shakes up entry-level sedan segment

It appears that the entry-level sedans are also going to see some action in the coming months with Ford pricing its new car in the Rs 5.59 to Rs 6.99 lakh range

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Fiesta pricing shakes up entry-level sedan segment

NEW DELHI: If you thought the compact car market is where all the action is happening, think again. It appears that the entry-level sedans are also going to see some action in the coming months.

Take the case of Ford. The company has positioned the entry-level model of its brand new car, Fiesta, at this segment. And other car makers also appear to be veering around to the view that the entry-level sedan segment needs more options.

At present, the entry-level sedans include brands such as Maruti Esteem, Hyundai Accent, Ford Ikon, Opel Corsa and Tata Indigo, among others, with prices beginning at a modest Rs 4.5 lakh and going up to Rs 7.25 lakh in some cases.

Ford, for example, has positioned Fiesta very competitively with an introductory offer price of Rs 5.59 lakh (ex-showroom New Delhi) for the base model, going up to Rs 6.99 lakh for the high-end diesel version.

In fact, automobile experts feel that with the Fiesta priced dangerously close to Ford Ikon’s high-end model, the latter may fall out of favour with the consumer.

But Ford India managing director Arvind Mathew says that the company will continue to offer the high-end Ikon “as long as there is demand for the product”.

Not only Ford, other car makers are also expected to offer new products in this segment. Automobile experts say that Hyundai is expected to bring in a new Accent whereas

Maruti Udyog may replace the existing Esteem with a three-box version of Swift some time next year.

While neither Hyundai nor Maruti have come out with their plans for the entry-level sedan segment, experts point out that after the hatchbacks, this is the segment where more action is expected next year.

They caution, however, that the entry-level sedan segment suffers somewhat because of a price overlap. Most manufacturers price their premium hatchbacks alongside the sedans, thus giving the consumer a tough choice.

“And given the excitement surrounding small cars at present, the sedan segment tends to lose out some times,” they point out.

Meanwhile, Ford claims that the Fiesta comes with several new features which are absent from most other sedans priced below the Rs 10 lakh category, such as ornamental twin headlights, 6 CD changer and completely fold-down rear seats. So, it seems that the consumer may after all get a lot more in terms of car features at existing prices as competition in the sedan market intensifies.

Ford India, which has seen flat sales growth this year, is pinning hopes on its fifth car in India - Fiesta - to build fortunes. The company has said earlier it expects to close this year at about 27,000 unit sales, the same as 2004.

Its latest launch, Ford Fiesta, comes in both petrol and diesel versions, and with the Fiesta launch the company has introduced its Common Rail diesel engine in the Indian market.
While the Fiesta 1.4 Exi Petrol will cost Rs 5.59 lakh, the 1.6 Zxi petrol will come for Rs 6.29 lakh.

The 1.6 Sxi petrol will be priced at Rs 6.89 lakh whereas the diesel version, called 1.4 Zxi, will come for Rs 6.99 lakh. All prices are ex-showroom Delhi.

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