Ford India plans to make India export hub

Hyderabad, April 19 (IANS) Auto major Ford India, which is gearing up to roll out its much-awaited compact Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) Ford Ecosport in a couple of months, plans to make India the export hub. It is targeting 25 percent exports of its total vehicle capacity in the country.

The vehicle capacity at both its existing plant in Chennai and the upcoming plant near Ahmedabad, which scheduled to become operational next year, will be 440,000 per annum. The engine capacity will be 610,000 units.

“We not only want to satisfy Indian demand but we are also making India the export hub. As much as 25 percent of vehicle capacity and as much as 40 percent of engines will be exported,” said Joginder Singh, president and managing director of Ford India.

Terming EcoSport as Ford’s new game changer, he said it was expected to do even do better than Ford Figo in exports. Figo is being exported to 38 countries.

Singh said the company invested $140 million in the Chennai factory to expand the capacity to satisfy both Indian and international demands. The current exports are mostly to Asia Pacific but with the Ecosport launch, this is expected to go beyond.

He was talking to reporters here after unveiling Chennai-built EcoSport as part of its product experiential campaign EcoSport Urban Discoveries.

Through this campaign in 12 cities across India, 100 customers will be selected to drive this vehicle and share their experiences of the same. These customers will be selected by a panel of judges.

Terming this as the first of its kind campaign by any manufacturer in India, Singh said they want to empower the customers. “We are so confident of the product. Once this process is completed, we will announce booking and pricing,” he said.

Stating that the ‘unique’ product has high localization, Singh promised that the pricing will be competitive.

He pointed out that 75,000 people have also registered on web for the campaign and claimed that EcoSport has become the most awaited product. Singh believes that despite the slowdown in the automotive industry, the timing for the launch of the second-generation SUV is perfect

“Despite the turmoil, some segments are still growing. This segment (SUV) is not only growing but will take off once we launch this product. We think it is right product in right segment and at right time,” he said.

He, however, said the government should come out with a policy to provide the stimulus to the industry by lowering the interest rates so that more customers can buy the vehicles.

EcoSport will come in four variants, eight colours and three engines – petrol, diesel and EecoBoost technology petrol, which is being introduced for first time in India.

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