Ford plans big push for upcoming SUV EcoSport's exports

Car-maker Ford India today said it expects to export its upcoming compact sports utility vehicle EcoSport to about 40 countries after the vehicle's launch here within the next few months.

"We have ambitious plans for exporting EcoSport in the international market. The Figo is currently exported to 38 markets from India. We hope to repeat that or even better it with the EcoSport," Ford India President and Managing Director Joginder Singh told PTI on the sidelines of CII AGM here.

The company sees a clear opportunity in exports on account of favourable factors such as cost efficiency in manufacturing at its plant in Chennai, he added.

Ford India is expected to launch the EcoSport by June this year. The vehicle will be introduced in three engine options with both manual and automatic transmissions.

Talking about Ford India's overall export plan, Singh said the company will sell 25 per cent of the combined installed capacity of Chennai and the upcoming plant in Sanand plants in the overseas markets.

In case of engines, the company will sell 40 per cent of the total installed capacity in overseas markets, he added.

"Our plan to make India the global export hub for Ford is on track," Singh said, adding the company is not putting on hold its investment at Sanand plant despite the slowdown in Indian auto market.

Ford India is investing USD 1 billion to set up its second production facility at Sanand that will be operational by 2014. The plant will have an installed output capacity of 2.4 lakh vehicles and 2.7 lakh engines annually.

With completion of the Sanand plant in Gujarat, Ford India will have a total installed capacity of rolling out 4.4 lakh vehicles and 6.1 lakh engines every year.

In November last year, the subsidiary of the US car major Ford had said it will make India its export hub with plans to sell its products in over 50 nations over a period of time.

Ford India had reported 38.28 per cent decline in its total sales in March this year at 7,499 units. It had sold a total of 12,150 units in the same month last year.

The domestic sales also went down by 41.61 per cent to 5,271 units in March this year as against 9,028 units in the same month last year.

The company exported 2,228 units last month compared to 3,122 units in the year-ago period, registering a fall of 28.64 per cent.

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