NEW DELHI - Ford Motor Co. jolted rival automakers and Indian car buyers last month by pricing the all-new Ikon more than $1,000 below expectations.
The base price of 499,677 rupees, or about $11,620 at current exchange rates, compares with widespread reports that the Fiesta-based Ikon would be priced between $12,790 and $13,950.
But Ford moved firmly to counter Hyundai Motor Co., which introduced the new Accent at a base price of $12,440. Both cars will go head to head in the near-luxury mid-sized segment, already occupied by several foreign and domestic automakers.
In addition to the Ikon and the Accent, the segment is now made up of the Ford Escort, Fiat Siena, Opel Astra, Mitsubishi Lancer, Honda City, Daewoo Cielo and Nexia and Maruti Esteem.
GM also is scheduled to introduce the Opel Corsa next year.
The lower-than-expected pricing by Ford and Hyundai is expected especially to hurt the segment leader, the Maruti Esteem, an older car that has now lost much of its competitive edge. Auto analysts say they expect Maruti to respond with a deep price cut that will be followed by other makers in the segment.
The Ikon, developed at Ford's small-car center in Germany especially for the Indian market, goes on sale this month.