With India being projected as the emerging third largest automobile market in the world, after China and the US, Ford India is looking at the country at a major export hub in this sector, Joginder Singh, the new President and Managing Director, said here on Thursday. The global automaker, which sold 5.3 million vehicles in 2010, expects to increase the number to eight million by 2015. The Asia-Pacific region is expected to account for 70 per cent of this market. “By 2020, one out of every six cars sold in the region would be a Ford,” he said on the eve of Vibrant Gujarat 2013, which begins in Gandhinagar on Friday. By mid-decade, Singh said Ford India will have seven new factories working in China, Thailand and at Sanand, near Ahmedabad, where it is currently investing $1 billion (Rs 5,300 crore) at the car and engine manufacturing facilities. The company has already invested $140 million to expand capacities at its existing Chennai-based plant. Its total investment in India so far was $2 billion.
In the next few years, Ford India will launch eight new products and double the number of dealers to 250 and customer touch-points to 500, mainly in Tier-II and III towns and cities in northern and western India, which account for 60 per cent of its sales, he said. While Ford India has created 10,000 jobs in Chennai, it will create 5,000 at the upcoming Sanand plant by 2014, when it is commissioned next year. The company’s manufacturing capacity at these two plants will increase from the existing three million units to five million by mid-decade and nine million by 2020. Ford India plans to manufacture 4.40 lakh vehicles at these two plants, and export 20-25 per cent of these. It will also increase engine-making capacities to 6.10 lakh, 40 per cent of which would be exported. “We would initiate talks with the authorities soon to export our products from Mundra port,” Singh said.
-Hindu Business Line