EXCLUSIVE!: The inevitable has happened. Ford dealers have stopped keeping stock of the Ikon model as numbers have started to dip and interest has waned in its 12-year old model. Dealers in most part of the country are refraining from taking any fresh orders on the car and most are now clearing out their remaining stocks. In fact in January, Ford sold zero Ikons, going to show that the company indeed is gearing up to discontinue it.
According to sources, the Ikon numbers have dipped sharply ever since Ford discontinued the model from 13 cities that conform to BS-IV norms. This has led to dealers even based in BS-III cities to go through stock taking and reduce their inventory levels of the car. Sources suggest that the model could be discontinued very soon.
The Ikon has been in production since the second half of 1999 and has been one of Ford India's important models. Developed specifically for India and exported to many emerging markets as well, the Ikon became an instant hit because of its price as well as fun-to-drive factor. It was initially offered in three engine variants – two petrol and one diesel and has been through constant updates to keep it going. In 2005, the company discontinued its 1.7-litre diesel engine and 1.6-litre Rocam petrol model, while offering the 1.3-litre Rocam model in BS-III cities and continued with its 1.3-litre push-rod petrol model in BS-II cities. Facelifts apart, the company re-introduced the diesel model in December 2008 with the launch of the Ikon TDCi which shares its motor with the Fiesta and Figo.
What Ford India will do is bring down the price of the existing Fiesta (to be called Fiesta Classic) by some more to bring down the gap between it and the outgoing Ikon. By then, it would have introduced the new Fiesta to take the mantle from the Fiesta Classic. The new Fiesta saloon is expected in the next three months (sometime around June) and will roll out with a new 1.6-litre petrol engine with over 110 bhp and a new 1.6-litre diesel engine with around 90 bhp. This car is expected to be priced in the region of Rs 7-9 lakh and will compete with the likes of the Honda City, Volkswagen Vento, Maruti Suzuki SX4 and the Hyundai Verna/upcoming RB saloon.