Ford developing vehicles with India as reference point
Cansaulim (Goa): US auto major Ford is developing global products with India as reference point and take them to other similar markets, giving the company cost advantages.
The company which had embarked on a strategy -- One Ford -- taking a single global approach on its overall business, is looking to replicate from what it has done with other markets like Brazil and China.
"We are already working on projects to develop vehicles with India as a reference point market and to take them to other similar markets," Ford Asia Pacific Vehicle Line Director (Small Cars) Graham Pearson told the agency here.
He said developing a vehicle keeping the Indian market in mind would help in achieving cost competitive advantage while taking it to other similar markets.
"The Indian market is extremely challenging to work as the customers are really value conscious. So when we develop a world class vehicle here, we can achieve a lot of cost competitiveness when we take it to other markets," he said.
The strategy, he said, is similar to the one Ford is pursuing with its Escort model, the concept for which was showcased at the Shanghai Auto show in China recently.
Also, the company's upcoming model in India, the compact sports utility vehicle EcoSport, is the second generation version of the model which was developed in Brazil and first launched in South America in 2003.
Asked by when such a vehicle developed with India as a reference point could hit the market, Pearson declined to share a timeline.
"We are already working for 6-7 years in advance," he said, adding that such a product could find its way to similar markets like Brazil and some parts of Europe with requisite adjustments as and when launched.
On the upcoming EcoSport, Ford India President and Managing Director Joginder Singh said the company expected it to be a significant volume contributor.
"We will also be exporting it to new countries like Australia, New Zealand and Taiwan," he said.
The company has invested USD 142 million at its Chennai plant to enhance capability to manufacture the EcoSport, he added.
The Chennai plant has an annual installed capacity of 2 lakh units. The company has also another plant with a total capacity of 2.4 lakh units annually coming up at Sanand in Gujarat by 2014.
Singh said the bookings of EcoSport will start by June and the vehicle will be available on three engine options of 1 litre ecoboost petrol, 1.5 litre petrol and 1.5 litre diesel.
The price of the compact SUV will be announced at the time of launch in June.