Ford India's Fiesta aims at the mid-size market and, like the Ikon, builds on the Fiesta platform introduced in Europe at the 2005 Frankfurt Motor Show. The car taps into the Indian component supplier base of Ford.
Ford showed the 2006 Fiesta and Fusion at the Frankfurt Motor Show and launched the Fiesta in India. Unlike the hatchback, which replaced the earlier Fiesta in Europe and the UK where it is claimed to be popular, the one in India is a new entry into this market and different from the one in Europe. It is a sedan unlike the hatchback that sells in Europe. However, look at few key dimensions of the European Fiesta and the one launched in India and it is obvious that the Indian Fiesta shares the platform with that of the one in Europe. Wheelbase at 2486 mm is the same as the 2006 European Fiesta. Front and rear tracks also correspond with that of the European Fiesta. So, with the Fiesta, Ford indulged in the same act they did in 1999. The outcome then was the Ikon, an "Indianised" version of the Fiesta hatchback. So, it is aptly clear that when it comes to the Indian market, which is one of the growing Asia-Pacific markets, Ford is sticking to the philosophy expressed by Terry de Jonckheere (Ford executive leading the Asia-Pacific team in the 90s) that each country in the Asian region is an independent market with its unique needs and desires or words to that effect. Jonckheere retired in 2002 as president, Ford South America Operations and company vice president.Back to the Fiesta and for the launch, Ford India invited Bill Ford Jr. chairman and CEO, Ford Motor Co. Speaking on the occasion, Ford Jr said, "As we accelerate our effort to meet the global challenges of our business, I have emphasized the importance of optimising our global footprint by investing in areas that are growing. India is right at the top of the list and this market is critical to our plans for building a Ford Motor Company for the 21st century." According to the sources close to Ford India, the Fiesta was envisioned as a market offering for the rapidly growing midsize segment of the passenger car industry in India. The Fiesta, according to the sources, was created with the disciplines of Ford's shared technology approach. A core team of 13 Indian engineers worked with product development teams from UK, Germany and Australia on the project. Industry sources go a step ahead and claim that the test vehicles were driven over 700,000 km on testing surfaces at various global facilities in nine countries - India, Korea, Australia, Belgium, Germany, UK, Spain, Sweden and Japan.The design brief to the international team of 150 was to develop a vehicle with progressive styling, spacious interiors with the best rear package, a spirited performer that is fun to drive, well crafted and comfortable. The global teams from Ford visited India numerous times and a decision was taken to approach the design from the inside out. Fusing the global and European common architecture, said sources, enables to clear good amount of room and dial-in superior ergonomics. Attribute prototypes started stringent testing at multiple locations around the world, namely the Volvo testing facility at Arvidsjaur, Sweden, and Ford Australia's FOA Lara Proving Ground sometime in 2003. Testing was also carried out at Mojacar (Spain), FOE Lommet Proving Ground, FOE Dunton Technical Centre, Continental Teves (Germany) and Cooper Standard (UK). Conformation prototypes were built at Chennai facility in the middle of 2004 and subjected to accelerated durability cycle, extensive development testing and refinement.
Not as brutish as the Ikon was claimed to be at the time of its launch, the "made for India" Fiesta is a sedan that fuses the traditional appeal of a sedan with the impressive presence brought about by quad headlamps, diamond mesh grille and well sculpted fog lamps embedded into the well-formed bumper, a strong side stance with aggressive arches and a functional rear. Put together, the Fiesta comes across as a car that endows good proportions and design sense. This extends to the inside, which claim Ford sources, was "cubed out" to generate an airy cabin and include detailed and unique touches like the space to locate deity idol at the top-centre of the dashboard. Other than the anti-submarine seats, sprung wire backrests and cut-and-sew covers, the design team looked into the requirements of the Indian customers. The instrument cluster incorporates an electronic speedometer, tachometer, fuel and coolant temperature gauges with backlit dials and moving analogue needles that are LED illuminated throughout their length, augmented by low-fuel level and high coolant warning lights. Unique to the "Indian" Fiesta according to V Sivaramakrishnan, Vice-President, Ford India, "is the distance to empty gauge in instrument cluster".The electronic brain of the Fiesta, claim sources, is the Generic Electronic Module (GEM) that controls engine diagnostics and several other functions. In short, GEM takes care of various distributed systems. When it came to powertrain, the Ford team turned to the Duratec, Duratorq and Durashift family of engines and transmissions. The Fiesta is thus equipped with a 1388 cc, 16-valve, DOHC and a 1596 cc, 16-valve, DOHC engine that produces 82 and 101 bhp respectively. The petrol engine, according to industry sources, is made locally at the Hindustan Motors facility near Indore. The Rocam engines for the Ikon are made at this facility. The 1399 cc common-rail turbo diesel engine that pumps out 68 bhp and 160 Nm of torque at 2000 rpm is imported and has been developed along with Peugeot-Citroen of France. All the three engines are of aluminiun construction and located transversely with the power going to the front wheels. Separate cast aluminium alloy bedplate with cast-iron bearing inserts and lightweight aluminium alloy head and block with cast-iron cylinder liners highlight the Duratorq diesel engine, which employs Piezo injector and drive-by-wire technology.The Fiesta is equipped with the Ford IB5 five-speed manual transaxle. The shift mechanism is cable-actuated whereas the clutch is hydraulically operated. Suspension at front is independent and made up of McPherson struts, separate cross-member, stabiliser bar and dual path body mounts. Rear suspension is semi-independent with heavy-duty twist beam with coil springs, shock absorbers and dual-path body mounts. According to sources, the Fiesta was designed using advanced computer modelling to develop a safety structure that combines energy absorbing crash zones with a rigid survival space for the occupants. Body shell load paths have been optimised for maximum deformation outside the passenger compartment in front, rear and side impacts, thus reducing the severity of the crash pulse transmitted to the occupants.
This primary protection is backed by a number of supplementary restraint systems. Look at the Fiesta chassis and it is, according to sources close to Ford, an evolution of a very successful design from Europe. From this, it is clear that they are pointing at the 2006 Fiesta of Europe though they are not ready to openly admit it. So, it is more or less the case where the design team at Ford took the European Fiesta as the platform and modified the vehicle dynamics using the feedback gained from Indian consumers of Ikon and other competitors.Sources attract attention to the fact that the Fiesta prototypes, which are claimed to have put in 700,000 km of testing, underwent ride development and tuning in India under a variety of challenging roads in the Western ghats. Over 20 days 4 separate tuning exercises were undertaken to hone the damper performance. The need for ease of parking initiated the Ford design team to engineer a steering system that extends a linear response and also enables good low speed manoeuvrability and ease of parking. The braking system of the Fiesta may use the basic design of the European Fiesta but has seen a good deal of upgrades to suit the Indian driving conditions, claim sources. This involves the fine-tuning of ABS and EBD in addition to an amount of testing at Mando Brake System facility in India. Sources close to Ford claim that the 'Indian' Fiesta is nearly 70 per cent localised, a fact that highlights the major role Ford India plays in exports and as a supplier base in Asia. Ford India has been exporting Ikon kits to South Africa and South America and components to China. The company was awarded a trophy for the top exporter in 2001-02, and the highest export performance in 2002-03 by the Engineering Export Promotion Council.
Peep inside the 'Indian' Fiesta and Ford's connection with the Indian component suppliers will be clear at once. Mando Brake Systems, an Anand Group company, which has collaboration with Continental Teves, is the supplier of braking system of the Fiesta. Asahi India is the supplier of Temperlite-LT windshield glass. Autoliv IFB is the supplier of seat belts in addition to Rane-TRW. IFB is the supplier of bonnet latch. While Denso is said to be the supplier of injection system and the air-conditioning system, Rane-TRW is the supplier of steering system. Schefenacker, which has a joint venture in India with the Motherson Group, called Schefenacker Motherson, is the supplier of outer rear view mirrors. Lumax is the supplier of headlights and tail lamps. Lucas-TVS is said to be the supplier of alternator and starter mechanisms of the Fiesta. Tata-Johnson Controls is said to be the supplier of seats. Cooper Tire & Rubber Co (India) is the supplier of brake tubes, fuel and brake bundles, clutch tubes, nylon fuel lines and power steering hoses.Sources claim that Ford India is in talks with Amara Raja for supply of batteries. The early units are said to feature Motorcraft batteries. Injectoplast is claimed to supply various components like oil cap, air duct, air filter housing, fan shroud, blower fan, heater control panel, starter/alternator connectors, canister body parts, chassis and steering parts, CVJ boots and bellows and a few precision moulded decorative parts.While it is said that some of these components are supplied via Visteon India, which supplies a number of modules like the HVAC module, Getrag is the supplier of transmission. Arvin Exhaust is said to be the supplier of exhaust system. Jamna-NHK Allevard is claimed to have supplied suspension bits. Ford developed the Durashift transmission in association with Getrag. igus, which specialises in Polymer bearings and FAG are said to be the supplier of transmission bearings via Getrag. Not just that, FAG India is claimed to be an OE supplier for a variety of bearings in addition to SKF. TVS group company, SFL is claimed to supply gear shifter mechanism whereas Wheels India is said to supply the steel wheels. MRF is the supplier of 14-inch tubeless tyres. BorgWarner is the supplier of the fixed geometry low inertia turbocharger on the 1.4TDCi diesel engine. Siemens VDO is claimed to be the supplier of fuel injectors of the 1.4TDCi.