Force Motors looking to set up plant in Gujarat; working on new car to take on Ertiga

Friday 11 May 2012, 12:14 PM by

Force Motors Ltd., which offers vehicles like Tempo, Traveller and Trax in India, is looking to establish a new facility in the state of Gujarat in a bid to boost its commercial vehicle operations. On this, Prasan Firodia, the Managing Director of the company, stated, “We are awaiting approval from the board regarding the new unit in Gujarat. Once that is done, we shall make an announcement.”

Though the manufacturer refused to give details of the investment, a Gujarat government official who did not wish to be named said it wants to invest close to Rs. 2,000 crores. He also commented that the firm is looking to acquire 700 to 800 acres of land in either Sanand or Halol. The company has stated that it will chalk up plans to set the unit in a couple of months.

The manufacturer has a production unit in Pithampura, Madhya Pradesh, where it develops its range of commercial vehicles. Even though this plant operates only at 65 per cent of its installed capacity, the car maker is gearing up to establish a new unit since it is continually expanding its domestic portfolio.

In spite of the poor sales of its Force One Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV), the company remains undeterred and is planning a new passenger car. It is looking to launch a new vehicle with seating capacity for 7-9 people, which will be pitted against segment leaders like Toyota Innova, Maruti Suzuki Ertiga and Mahindra Xylo. It will also compete against the likes of Premier RiO and upcoming models like Chevrolet Enjoy, Ashok Leyland Stile and Nissan Evalia for market share.

This new car will be manufactured under license from Daimler AG at an investment of Rs. 350 crores. It is anticipated that the company will roll out this upcoming model in early 2013. In order to boost the sales of its passenger cars, the company is making efforts to bolster its dealership network by raising the number of dealers from the current 19 to 30 by the end of Financial Year 2012-13.

Force Motors has sold only 1200 units of Force One, which was launched in October 2011. This figure does not come close to the car maker's target of 4000 units for the initial year, though there is still time left for the year to end. The model bears a price tag of Rs. 11.17 lacs, though a higher priced variant with 4X4 capabilities and airbags is also under production. About this vehicle, Firodia said, “It’s under homologation and should be ready for launch in the next two to three months.”