By Sohini Das
While the automotive market in the country is on a slow growth track, US-based carmaker Ford India's is on track with its upcoming facility at Sanand in Gujarat. The company said that the plant would go onstream in 2014.
"We at Ford India, have announced our plans for accelerating new product introductions... and scale up our production capacity with the new plant in Sanand that will be commissioned in 2014", a company spokesperson said. Ford India currently operates an integrated vehicle and engine manufacturing facility at Maraimalai Nagar, near Chennai, which produces the new Figo, Classic, Fiesta and the Endeavour.
Meanwhile, industry sources indicate that the company is likely to seek for a port terminal in Gujarat for exporting to the western markets.
India has evolved as an export hub for the company which already exports the Figo to 35 countries and is planning to ship the vehicle to 50 international markets eventually. The company has exported more than 26,000 units so far. Around 40 per cent of the engines exported to markets across the Asia Pacific and Africa region are produced in the country's Chennai facility. Ford, however, did not wish to share what percentage of Sanand production would exported.
With the Sanand plant going onstream, Ford India's annual installed capacity will nearly treble to 610,000 engines and 440,000 vehicles. Ford's Sanand facility is coming up with an investment of around $1 billion (approximately Rs 5430 crore) and would generate direct employment for 5,000 people. The company currently employs around 10,000 people in India.
Ford has already invested around a billion dollar so far in Chennai. Only recently, it expanded the powertrain manufacturing operations at its Maraimalai Nagar facility near Chenna iwith and investment of around $ 72 million (around Rs 390 crore). "An additional $142 million (Rs 770 crore) is being invested in Chennai as we gear up for the production and launch of the all new Ford EcoSport", the spokesperson added.
Ford has announced eight new products by 2015, and it is in the process of building plant capacity to support the production plan. "The global Fiesta was first of the eight products and we have recently announced EcoSport that will be manufactured at in Chennai". the company spokesperson said.