Last Wednesday, Ford Motor Company launched its new EcoSport compact SUV in India, marking the launch of its new three-cylinder, 1-liter EcoBoost engine in that country. The EcoSport is one of eight new models Ford plans to market in a number of emerging markets in an effort to boost its annual global sales to 8 million over the next three years.
In a statement released the same day, Ford announced that it plans to invest an additional $142 million in its Chennai plant, located in southern India. Ford’s Chennai plant has an annual capacity to build 200,000 vehicles including the new EcoSport, Figos and Fiestas. Managing director of Ford India Michael Boneham said the additional investment will go toward the purchase of additional equipment needed to manufacture the EcoSport.
Ford also builds EcoSports at its Brazil facilities, where it was originally engineered and introduced, and has plans to begin building the model at other factories in the future. Ultimately, Ford plans to market the EcoSport in nearly 100 markets.
In addition to India, Ford plans to make its new three-cylinder EcoBoost engine available on a variety of models in Europe, China and North America.
Ford has reportedly sold upward of 700,000 EcoSports since the model was first launched in South America in 2003.
Last year Ford sold nearly 100,000 vehicles in India, up 15 percent from the previous year. The company expects to see deliveries double in Asia, and account for one third of the company’s global sales by 2020.
In a recent interview, Ford’s group vice-president and Asia Pacific and Africa president Joe Hinrichs said, “The Indian market will be the third largest by the end of the decade behind the U.S. and China,” and added, “We are still bullish on India and we expect significant growth as per capita income rises in tier-2.”
Indian car sales are expected to be flat for the current fiscal year when compared with the 30 percent increase in sales during the fiscal year ending last March, as interest rates and labor costs have risen.
The bi-annual India Auto Expo began this past Thursday in New Delhi.
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