Ford Motor Company in India: Developing and Marketing the Ford Figo

authorsDebapratim Purkayastha talks about the development of the IBS Center for Management Research case series on Ford Motor Company in India, co-authored with R Muthukumar.

This two-part case series looks at Ford’s development and marketing of the Figo for the highly competitive Indian small car market. The series is structured so that each case can be used individually or together depending on the educator’s teaching objectives. In addition to the illustrative aspects of the cases, each has a decision focus.The first case asks students to develop a launch strategy for the Figo, keeping the characteristics of the market and the target audience in mind.The second case challenges them to evolve the marketing strategy in such a way that the Figo can continue the momentum and remain relevant to the target customer in the future.

Why Ford?

The success of the Figo in India generated a great deal of interest, particularly as it was Ford Motor Company’s first major success in India despite having been in the market for over a decade and a half. One of the main reasons for the success of the Figo was that it was developed keeping the Indian customer in mind. The process Ford adopted while developing the model is very interesting. We felt that students could learn a lot from a case about it. As the Figo was targeted at young MBAs we felt sure that students would relate to the cases and that this would lead to a very enriching discussion in the classroom.

In industry and academic circles there is increasing interest in emerging markets and the strategies adopted by multinational companies in these markets. As Ford is a top of the mind recall brand, and India a key emerging market, we felt that educators around the world would also be interested in this case series.

Ford’s involvement

Ford

In March 2011 some key officials of the Ford Motor Company visited the IBS Hyderabad campus. Professor GV Muralidhara, the current Dean (Academics), broached with them the topic of industry-academia collaboration to make MBA education more relevant and effective through the development of cases. At his request, the Ford officials agreed in principle to collaborating on this case series.

We began the case writing process with a face-to-face meeting with our contact at Ford. They shared enough information for us to begin planning the case series. We then reviewed additional information from the Ford Motor Company website, Ford India website and a number of secondary sources to prepare the case series. Where we needed additional information from Ford we collected it from our contact by telephone and email.

Though Ford India shared some vital information about the development and marketing of Ford Figo, there were certain gaps. The case writers at IBS Hyderabad are very skilled at secondary research and we were able to fill some of the gaps and also include additional information. Despite our repeated efforts we were not able to get any original quotes from key officials to use in the case series. We overcame this by obtaining relevant quotes from secondary sources and getting the Ford officials to corroborate them.

Once the draft was developed officials from multiple departments of Ford India reviewed the case series and provided feedback to us. They pointed out inconsistencies in the individual case studies and also shared other relevant information. The case series went through more than two rounds of review by Ford before finally being released. This process was vital in developing the case series in its final form.

Testing the case before publication

Following release by Ford the next step was to test the cases in the classroom. IBS Hyderabad follows a 100% case-based learning approach so faculty are always on the look out for new cases. A faculty member came forward to test the first case in their Production and Operations Management course. Both the cases were also tested in Marketing elective courses. Their feedback was taken into account in the final version of the case.

Ford

Using the cases

The case series has been developed keeping an international audience in mind. It is written in a way that educators and students not only in India but around the world can relate to it.

Ford Motor Company in India: Developing the Ford Figo enables students to understand the stages of the new product development process, discuss the reasons behind the development of the Ford Figo, explain how Ford went about identifying the needs of the target customer and discuss how Ford was able to effectively take the Figo to market. It can be used as part of a Product Management, International Marketing or Marketing Management course.

Ford Motor Company in India: Marketing the Ford Figo helps students understand the issues and challenges of launching a new product, study the multi-pronged introduction strategy of the Figo, understand various issues and challenges in target marketing, analyse the marketing strategies for the Figo and explore ways in which the marketing should be evolved to keep the brand relevant to the target audience. It can be used as part of an International Marketing, Integrated Marketing Communications or Marketing Management course.

Advice for case writers

Our advice to fellow case writers is to conduct rigorous additional secondary research for any case study that they develop. At times companies may not want to share certain information with the case writer but, when they see how much information is already there in the public domain, they may be more willing to share. Secondary research also leads to a better understanding of the situation and issues, lends multiple perspectives to the case and helps in asking the right kind of questions to the company.

Another important piece of advice is to remain patient and motivated about interactions with the company throughout the process as sometimes things may not work out the way you expect them to. If your contacts hold key positions at the company, time may be an issue and you must be ready for some delays. For us, it took over a year from initial contact to final release of the case series.

Case details

Ford Motor Company in India: Developing the Ford Figo
Debapratim Purkayastha and R Muthukumar
IBS Center for Management Research
Ref 512-066-1
Also available:
Teaching note

Ref 311-256-8
Ford Motor Company in India: Marketing the Ford Figo
Ref 512-067-1
Teaching note

Ref 512-067-1

About the authors

Debapratim Purkayastha is Assistant Professor at IBS Hyderabad, India. e debapratim@icmrindia.org

R Muthukumar is the Case Publishing Manager at the Case Research Center, IBS Hyderabad.
e muthumba123@hotmail.com

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