Ford considering India as a big automobile export hub

Saturday 12 January 2013, 12:40 PM by

Ford India Private Limited (FIPL), a wholly owned division of American multinational car maker Ford Motor Company, believes that the country could become its next major automobile exporting hub. The auto maker’s ideas were revealed by Joginder Singh, Ford India's new President and Managing Director (MD), on January 10, 2013 in Ahmedabad. Singh was present in the city for the 'Vibrant Gujarat Summit 2013', which started on January 11, 2013.

Speaking about the company's production plans on Indian turf, in November 2012 Singh quoted, “With the Sanand facility in Gujarat coming up, the combined engine output will be over 6 lakh units annually. Out of that, 40 per cent will be exported... We are delighted to have India as the export hub.” He further added, “We are creating an export hub in India. Our small car Figo is exported to 35 markets around the world and our plan is to increase this to 50 markets over a period of time. Our new compact sports utility vehicle EcoSport will also be exported from India. We will launch the vehicle next year.”

Reportedly, the American auto giant witnessed sales of 5.3 million units during 2010 and aspires of increasing that number to at least 8 million by the end of 2015. Ford believes that auto markets in Asia Pacific region will account for a major share in its growth and could contribute close to 70 per cent in its overall business within the next few years. Underlining the company's future vision, Joginder Singh further said, “By 2020, one out of every six cars sold in the region would be a Ford.”

Singh pointed out the fact that by mid-decade, the company will retail products assembled in seven new production units operating in China, Thailand and Sanand in Gujarat, India. Further, Ford India has set aside a sum of $ 1 billion (around Rs. 5,300 crore) for developing new engine and passenger car manufacturing facility in Sanand, near Ahmedabad. Till date, the American multinational auto maker has invested some $ 140 million in capacity expansion procedures at its Chennai based production unit, while its total investment in India stands close to $ 2 billion.

Over the next few years, Ford India has plans of launching eight new models in the domestic passenger car market. The company is also looking forward to increase the number of its retail outlets to 250 and customer touch-points to 500 in the country. As per reports, tier-II and tier-III cities contributed to 40 per cent of the company’s total sales.

According to Singh, the Indian arm of Ford has created over 10,000 job opportunities for local public with its Chennai-based vehicle production unit. The company will provide 5,000 more job opportunities from its upcoming Sanand-based manufacturing facility, which is expected to kick-start its operations in 2014. Upon commissioning of Ford's Sanand unit, the company's total production yield in the country will increase from present 3 million units to close to 5 million by 2015 and 9 million by the end of 2020.

It has also been revealed that Ford India plans of exporting around 20 to 25 per cent of the vehicles manufactured in its Chennai and Sanand-based production units. The American auto major has planned to produce 4.40 lakh vehicles per year from both of its Indian manufacturing facilities. Further, Ford will increase its engine production capacity to 6.10 lakh units, out of which 40 per cent will be exported to international markets and vendors. Commenting on the company's upcoming export plans in India, Singh said, “We would initiate talks with the authorities soon to export our products from Mundra port.”

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