Ford India to export Eco Sport; offers petrol, diesel versions

July 17th, 2012 - 7:34 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, July 17 (IANS) Ford India Private Ltd., the Indian subsidiary of the US automobile major Ford Motor Company, has beefed up its engine capacity to 340,000 units and would export its to-be-launched sports utility vehicle (SUV) Eco Sport out of its Indian plant, said a top official.

“We will be exporting Eco Sport model out of India. We will be launching both petrol and diesel engine variants in India. The expansion of our engine plant to 340,000 units will facilitate that,” Michael Boneham, president and managing director, told reporters here Tuesday.

Ford India will start selling Eco Sport in the domestic market from next year.

“There are some segments that are growing where we are not present now. Eco Sport segment is one of them,” he said.

According to Boneham, the company completed the expansion of its engine facility by 80,000 units per annum at an outlay of $72 million. Ford India also rolled out its 400,000th engine unit Tuesday.

He said the company’s total engine capacity will be 610,000 units per annum once its new plant in Gujarat goes on stream sometime in 2014.

“We are the only car manufacturer to export engines out India. We will export out of both the plants,” he said.

Ford India ships out 40 percent of its engine production to countries like Thailand, South Africa and Taiwan and this is expected to go up further post expansion.

Apart from engines, Ford India ships out its small car Figo out its Maraimalai Nagar plant near here.

Boneham said the company’s engine plant is flexible and can roll out diesel or petrol engines based on the demand, unlike other car makers who have dedicated crankshaft facilities for both the fuels.

The facility is the first Ford plant in the world with single flexible production line manufacturing petrol and diesel engines and is now a major export hub for small displacement engines.

According to Balasundaram Radhakrishnan, vice president, Powertrain Operations, the engine plant makes 17 variants.

Speaking about the domestic car market, Boneham said there has been a dramatic shift in favour of diesel engine powered cars and Ford India was constrained by that.

“During the first five months, those who could supply diesel engine powered vehicles gained. Over the last three months, the market was flat. With the launch of Classic Titanium and the expansion of the engine plant, we can now give diesel engine variants,” he said.

According to him, the company hopes to maintain 10 percent growth in the domestic market which is in line with the overall industry expectation.

He expressed confidence that the Indian passenger and commercial vehicle market would log growth the long run to five million units by 2015 and nine million units by 2020 from the current 3.6 million units.

On the rupee depreciation, Boneham said there is a balance between imports and exports by the company.

“If we are focussed only on the domestic market, we would have been affected,” he said.

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