There are favourable signs that Ford's big launch at Geneva could make a grand entry in India. The B-Max, a five-seat, five-door MPV that replaces the slow-selling Fusion in Europe may be one of Ford's eight new vehicles for our market.
After launching the new Fiesta and unveiling the EcoSport concept at the 2012 Auto Expo in Delhi, this could very well become a link as Ford India plans to launch up to eight new vehicles by 2015. The B-Max concept that was first revealed at the last Geneva Motor Show measured 4.04 metres and it's quite likely that the production model could measure a little less than that. And if it does duck under four metres, the potential is immense, given our excise structure.
The B-Max is designed to have pillarless doors, i.e. it doesn't have a conventional B-pillar while the rear doors are of the sliding variety. Ford claims that it has managed to 'beat the authorities' through some clever design techniques to ensure the car can meet the much coveted EuroNCAP Five-Star rating. The boot is rated at 397 litres which can be expanded to over 1000 litres.
The B-Max will get both petrol and diesel motors, including the three-cylinder 1.0-litre EcoBoost with 118 bhp from the EcoSport and most likely a 1.5-litre Duratorq diesel motor with 90 bhp, identical to the one that powers the Ford Fiesta saloon in India.
While pricing at this point is a matter of conjecture, our best guess is that Ford India could price it just below the EcoSport, in the range of Rs 6 to 8 lakh. A launch date of second-half of 2013 looks most likely and could be the first of many new Ford products to roll out from their new plant in Sanand, Gujarat.