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INTERVIEW: VINAY RAINA, FORD INDIA

How do you see the Nepali market? Has the perception changed as compared to when you started?

We have been in the market for about 7 years now and through all these years the reception and the recognition we have had for our products has been exemplary. It is a necessity to us that we deliver what we have promised. What we also found is that the taste and preference of the Nepalese market is very dynamic and brand focused. People appreciate quality but at the same time they value ownership at the highest. The mindset here may be quite different from the Indian market but we have learned from it. We are confident that we will be able to grow in this market consistently.

As a brand we have put in a lot of work to give the market what it deserves. Customers will have easy access to information because of the transparency we provide. We have ensured that we are spreading ourselves all over the country. We have made it an aim to give our customers all the satisfaction from our products.

How dynamic is the portfolio of Ford in Nepal? How is Ford embracing the changing customers’ preferences?

If you look at our product range, you can see that we have products that cater to almost every segment. We have the Figo for individuals who want their first car to be impressive, energetic and well-equipped; then there’s the Ford Endeavour for individuals who have a liking for brawny SUVs with sheer road presence and comfort; and between this range, we have specific models that satisfies every individual’s needs.

I would say that we will be involved in catering to every category in the market and non-participation is not an option. You will continue to hear from us in the future as well and the new EcoSport is one of the first products that we have put in the market, so many more is yet to come.

In a competitive compact SUV segment, how does the new Ford EcoSport stacks up?

First things first, the Ford EcoSport has been a cult brand since its launch having cemented a top position in the competitive compact SUV segment. So, it was very important for us to be careful about all the changes, even the minor ones. The pressure was on us to further elevate the customers’ expectations while changing the dynamics of the vehicle. So, what we did was we upgraded the technological aspects of it. To give a number, more than 1600 parts have been upgraded to fit the market here in Nepal. You see a lot of visual changes but hundreds of non-visual aspects of the new EcoSport have also been modified to make the vehicle even better. You can feel it when you drive the car because these are significant changes.

What it does is that it gives a stance of a much bigger vehicle than it already is. The interiors are made better by upgrading to wider and softer seats to cushion the road situation in Nepal and to make travelling much comfortable. Also, the suspension has been tweaked to give customers a better experience.

Will the EcoSport help Ford to further penetrate in other markets?

We build EcoSport in six locations around the globe. We sell it in 100 markets. The Made in India Ford EcoSport is not only for this market but for America as well. The technology and the safety aspects have been modified differently for each market individually. It gives you a sense of quality delivered straight from the factory, a quality that’s found all around the world.

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