U.S. carmaker Ford on Wednesday unveiled its yet another global product from India, this time a compact sports utility vehicle (SUV) EcoSport.
To be manufactured at its Chennai-plant and launched later this year, the compact SUV will be powered by all-new one-litre EcoBoost engine, delivering 120 PS power, better fuel efficiency and reduced emissions.
Through this new vehicle, unveiled in the presence of Ford Motor Company President and CEO Alan Mulally, the U.S. carmaker plans to expand its presence in Brazil and the ASEAN region, besides taking it other emerging markets. EcoSport has been developed on the Ford's new global B-segment platform, which will be the basis for an array of new small-car products from Ford in the coming years.
Pointing out that EcoSport is the second of eight new vehicles (the first was hatchback Figo) that Ford plans to bring to India by 2015, Ford India President and Managing Director Michael Boneham said the global compact SUV would arrive with the most advanced level of design, quality and sustainability in its class to attract new generations of consumers.
On future plans, Mr. Benoham said the company would invest $142 million at its Chennai plant to manufacture EcoSport. Pointing out that the Chennai plant capacity will remain at two lakh units annually, he said: “The fresh investment will be over and above the $72 million that the company is pumping into the plant to augment the powertrain capacity. By the end of this, we would have invested $1.142 billion at the Chennai plant. We are also setting up a second plant at Sanand in Gujarat with an investment of $1 billion.”
Ford's total investment in India to date is around $2 billion.
Lauding his team's ‘excellent job', Ford President and CEO Alan Mulally said: “This is the first compact SUV and we are launching it right at the heart of the compact (vehicles) market…India is an important market for us.” He also said that the global market was still robust and was expected to grow by about 5 per cent in the next two years. “The Asia-Pacific market has slowed down a little bit, but there is tremendous growth potential,” he added. According to Ford Asia-Pacific and Africa President Joe Hinrichs: “We have promised to bring more than 50 new vehicles and powertrains in Asia and Africa by mid-decade and the all new EcoSport continues to deliver on that pledge.
Created as the latest One Ford global product, the SUV after making its global debut in India will be sold in 100 markets around the world.”