After Tata Motors, American multi-nation company Ford Motors will set up a car manufacturing unit at Sanand near here at a cost of about Rs.4,000 crore.
To be set up on 460 acres next to the Tatas' Nano plant, the Ford unit, the second in the country after its Chennai plant, will initially have the capacity to roll out 2.40 lakh cars and 2.70 lakh engines annually and is expected to create about 5,000 jobs.
A memorandum of understanding was signed in Gandhinagar on Thursday by M. Sahu, Principal Secretary in the State Industries Department, and Michael Boneham, President and Managing Director of Ford India, in the presence of Chief Minister Narendra Modi and Joe Hinrichs, President of Ford Asia Pacific and Africa.
Roll out in early 2014
Addressing the media after signing the MoU, Mr. Hinrichs said construction would begin later this year and the first vehicle and engine were expected to come off the assembly line in early 2014. “The pro-business environment, the available infrastructure facilities, access to ports in the north-western region and skilled workforce are some of the key reasons for the company to select Gujarat as the location for its second venture in India,” he said. Along with the Sanand plant, Ford India was also in the process of expanding its Tamil Nadu plant at an additional investment of $72 million.
Car sales to increase
Mr. Hinrichs claimed that the new state-of-the-art facilities would help Ford increase worldwide sales by nearly 50 per cent by the middle of the decade to about eight million vehicles annually.
“We are bringing more than 50 new vehicles and powertrains to the Asia Pacific and Africa region by mid-decade and 60-70 per cent of our growth is expected to come from this region over the next ten years,” he said.
With this, the total investments made by Ford Motors so far in India would be doubled to $2 billion. Tata Motors and its vendor park was allotted 1,100 acres at Sanand in 2008 where the company invested Rs.2,000 crore for its small car Nano.
However, the company refused to divulge details of the package the State had offered. “The Gujarat Government has a transparent policy of offering incentives and packages for such projects and we have adhered to this policy,” Mr. Hinrichs said when asked about the price of the land offered by the State. After the Nano project, the prices of land around Sanand had increased manifold in the recent months.
The State Government has also prioritised land adjacent to the site for supplier operations. It will be protected by the local government to attract and locate automotive suppliers within close proximity of both plants.