With an aim of increasing its production capacity in India, Ford is setting up a new plant in Sanand, Gujarat, at a cost of Rs. 4500 crore. Reportedly, the construction of this plant is continuing as per schedule. The foundation for this plant was laid back in March 2012. When this facility commences operations, it will boast of an installed capacity of 240,000 cars and 270,000 engines in a year.
This new plant is the second manufacturing facility for Ford in India, the first one being in Chennai. The Chennai plant has the capability to build 2,00,000 cars and 3,40,000 engines in a year. At present, buyers are eagerly waiting for the launch of Ford's revolutionary compact Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV), the EcoSport, which will be powered by three different engines. Interestingly, one of these engines, the 1.0 litre EcoBoost petrol engine has won several international accolades for low levels of CO2 emission and high power.
Kel Kearns, Ford’s Director of Manufacturing, is looking after the construction of the new Sanand plant. He has been a part of the company since 18 years and has been instrumental in ensuring that the construction of the Sanand plant is on track.
Several new facilities will be a part of this new manufacturing facility. There will be a press shop where steel coils will be stamped and then chopped into different panels, so as to make various body parts. The advanced paint shop is also nearing the stage of completion. It is expected that the construction of Sanand plant will be completed by the end of 2013, with commissioning in 2014, after which vehicles will be rolled out from 2015.
Currently the demand for vehicles is going through a slow phase in India. Sales have dipped more than 7 per cent from the previous year, which is the steepest fall in the last decade. It is expected that with the introduction of new vehicles such as EcoSport, the demand for Ford vehicles can pick up once again. From that point of view, the slump is the right time to improve or expand current facilities, as currently not much pressure from dealers.