Johannesburg, 15 July 2010 – Ford’s new fun and fashionable compact car, Figo, has been developed and designed with the customer’s desires in mind. Figo derives its name from the colloquial Italian expression, which translated into English means ‘cool’. With its stylish design language and practical layout, the Figo is set to be a hit among South African consumers.

The new Figo is based on proven global small car architecture.  It is available with a choice of two of Ford’s class-leading, fuel-efficient engines, the 1.4ℓ Petrol Duratec and the 1.4ℓ Turbo Diesel Duratorq.  All models are equipped with five-speed manual transmissions. The chassis has been thoroughly retuned to suit market conditions with a more compliant suspension tailored for local road conditions.

The exterior and interior styling of the new Figo are fresh and include bold interpretations of Ford’s kinetic design philosophy.

“The Ford Figo is an exciting new introduction to the local market. It offers both style and practicality at an affordable price,” says Ford Marketing Manager, Ben Pillay. “It’s small enough to weave through city traffic but big enough to accommodate a family.

The space and practicality that define the Figo are more commonly associated with larger, more expensive vehicles rather than those typically found in the sub B-Value segment. The precise and responsive steering of the Figo instills confidence, while a fine balance between ride comfort and control is ensured through the optimized suspension design. There’s no shortage of big-car features either, the Figo features substantial technology including MP3/iPod connectivity, dual front airbags, ABS with EBD and PATS (Passive Anti Theft System).

Research has shown that there is a growing market of young buyers, particularly among women. The Figo offers a fantastic platform for them to enter the vehicle market, affordably without sacrificing on style and comfort.

“While affordability and practicality are of great importance in this segment buyers are not willing to sacrifice on style and performance. The Figo offers a perfect combination of style and affordability,” adds Pillay.

The design team focused on listening to customers prior to the initial design process ensuring that the final design of the Figo was representative of the desires of the market. Ford designers set out to create an attractive exterior coupled with a stylised and exquisitely crafted interior that offers generous proportions and delivers exceptional value for money.

”Creating appeal and communicating value to the customer starts with good design,” says Emily Lai, colour and materials Design Manager for Figo.  “You want a car that reflects and makes a statement about you.”

According to Lai, lowering the cost of a vehicle doesn’t mean quality; luxury and character have to be excluded.  “You start with a quality baseline and build from there,” she explains.

The Figo’s solid design, good stance and contemporary silhouette are refreshing features for a vehicle in its class.  “These features graduate Figo into the next class of vehicles, making it look like more car than you would expect for the money.  Small doesn’t have to be boring,” says Scott Strong, Ford Asia Pacific and Africa (APA) Design Director.

Designers were careful to ensure that the final blue print shows Figo as a legitimate form of transportation.  Despite its youthful spirit, Figo is mature and smart.  “Some manufacturers make the mistake of thinking small cars have to look cute, almost toy like,” he says. “Figo communicates solidness and safety, and drives like a car rather than a toy.”

Beyond design, Figo is all about lifestyle.  With features like CD with MP3 compatibility and ‘Aux-in’ port for iPod connectivity, the new Ford instantly connects with the energy and vitality of the buyer.  And with a proven, global chassis, Figo delivers a strong promise of reliability, functionality and performance.

In addition to excellent fuel economy customers are offered further value for money through Ford’s ability to secure affordable spare parts and offer reliable servicing through its extensive dealer network. The Figo comes with a 4-year/120 000km fully comprehensive warranty and      5-year corrosion warranty. Service intervals are 20 000km for petrol derivatives and 15 000km for diesel.