Ford Figo Aspire 1

Ford is looking to apply new skills gained from India and apply it to emerging markets to expand its outreach worldwide. The company hopes to use low-cost engineering and manufacturing techniques which it has gained in India to build compact cars for developing countries, Reuters reports.

Its first attempt can be seen in the form of the engine found in the Figo Aspire, a small B-segment car made exclusively for consumers in India. The automaker will reportedly use the engine in other offerings to be exported to Africa and Southeast Asia. While there was no specific mention of the powertrain, it is likely to be the 1.2 litre Ti-VCT petrol (the Figo is also available in 1.5 litre TDCI turbodiesel form).

Currently, the American brand commands a very small 3% market share in the passenger vehicle segment in India. The category is presently controlled by Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai. In total, Ford only managed to sell 75,000 units in India, for the fiscal year of 2014 – most of the sales were credited to the Ford EcoSport compact SUV.

This low-cost strategy however won’t be a walk in the park for the Americans (and Germans for that matter), despite the Japanese and Koreans having been able to pull it off.

“We are being challenged to find engineering solutions at lower costs than we have traditionally been able to do,” John Lonsdale, head of Ford’s B-car program in Asia Pacific, told the news agency. Meanwhile, analysts say that the company will be facing a tough fight as it is two-years late to the game.