Ford to triple exports from India with new plant

Ford Motor Co chief executive Mark Fields speaks during the launch of Ford Motor's new plant at Sanand in the western Indian state of GujaratIn what could be a major boost to the “Make in India” campaign, Ford, one of world’s largest automobile companies, inaugurated its new factory in Sanand in Gujarat, with a plan to triple its exports from India. The factory is reportedly one of Ford’s most heavily automated plants in Asia, costing about $1 billion.

Planning to go hand in hand with the “Make in India” drive by the Indian government, Ford established its factory in Sanand in Ahmedabad, the biggest city of Gujarat with an aim to be the leader in the Indian car industry.

As the factory is now operational, Ford is sure to almost double its production capacity in India to 610,000 engines and 440,000 vehicles a year. It will produce engines and compact cars like EcoSport, a small SUV, and the Figo Aspire sedan.

During the inauguration at the factory site in Sanand, Ford Chief Executive Mark Fields said “India is very cost competitive, which is important particularly for small vehicles.”

Ford’s focus point is to target the smaller-cars segments to compete in Asia, and especially in India. Ford, along with Volkswagen and General Motors, has found it difficult to ramp up its sales in India where the car market is absolutely dominated by the established Japanese carmakers Honda Motors and Maruti Suzuki.

Ford sold 77,140 vehicles in India in 2014 down from 80,431 in 2013, while exports nearly doubled to 76,981 units. In comparison, market leader Maruti sold 81,564 cars in December alone during the same period.

Speaking at the event, Mr Fields said that Ford would introduce three new cars in the next 12-18 months.

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