Ford India country director Shripad Bhat poses with the newly launched sedan in Kolkata.
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Kolkata: Multinational automobile major Ford is worried that the steep rise in fuel prices will affect its sales in India and said that the company is bracing for up to 1 per cent dip in its growth in the current fiscal year.

The apprehension was revealed on a day a new Ford Aspire sedan was launched in Kolkata. Ford Aspire comes in three variants ~ 1.2-litre petrol, 1.5-litre diesel, and 1.5-litre petrol ~ with the starting price being Rs 5.55-lakh.

“When fuel prices go up, it definitely hits car sales. This has happened in 2012-13 when the fuel prices suddenly went up. Hence, we are in particular worried at the sluggish growth in October-November,” Ford India country director (government sales), Shripad Bhat, told newspersons on the sideline of the launch.

Bhat said that the company was looking at 7-8 per cent growth in the 2018-19 fiscal year.

“But as it appears now, this may slip by up to 1 per cent unless the government does something drastic for the automobile industry. It’s been 4-5 weeks already, I don’t see the fuel prices going back to where it used to be,” he said.

Bhat, however, said that the company is very optimistic that the Ford Aspire launched today will do very well because of its “affordability.” “Especially, we are excited about the eastern India market where we were selling 600 cars a month a year ago and now selling 900 a month. We have 31 exclusive dealers and around 45 touch points in the region.”

Among the unique features that will attract a customer is ~ as many as 20 storage space, both auto and manual gears, rain sensing auto wiper, up to six airbags, and a five-year warranty. It is available in seven colours ~ white gold, moon-dust silver, smoke grey, absolute black deep impact blue, ruby red, and oxford white.