After the success of Figo in the Indian market, U.S. carmaker Ford on Wednesday said it would increase exports of the compact car to Mexico and other nations in North Africa, the Caribbean and the Middle East, besides making India as its export hub for the small car.
“Success of Figo, which celebrates the first anniversary, has prompted us to make India as our small car hub. India will be the sole producer of Figo in the world and there is no plan to assemble the car anywhere else,” Ford India President and Managing Director Michael Boneham told journalists here.
Ford India, which plans to launch eight models by 2015, would also consider adopting a similar strategy of producing only in India for some of the new products. “It will depend on the demand for those models from other markets and the economies of scale but there is always an option,” Mr. Boneham explained. This year, Ford India is planning to launch the new Fiesta
He, however, said the focus of Ford India would be the domestic market and priority would be to meet the demand here. “In January we sold 10,000 units for the first time, making us the fourth largest in India after Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai and Tata Motors,” he said.
Mr. Boneham also said the company would consider increasing production at its Chennai plant to meet the growing demand in the domestic and export markets. Ford has invested $500 million at its Chennai facility, doubling car production to two lakh units annually and to build a new engine unit, with a capacity of 2.5-lakh units a year.
“At present, we are producing 2,800 units a week in double shift. If need be, we can do a third shift that will make the plant reach its full capacity of two lakh units annually. But as of now we have not taken any decision on starting a third shift,” Mr. Boneham added.
By this month-end, Ford will ship 1,500 units of Figo to Mexico to tap the potential of the fast growing market. “We will also be exporting to markets in North Africa, the Middle East and the Caribbean,” he added. At present, Figo is exported to South Africa and Nepal. In 2010, Ford had exported a total of 12,000 cars, mainly Figo and Fiesta.