Ford CEO Mr. Alan Mulally turned the fortunes for the company during its recession phase, with reducing the mounting losses and investing in emerging markets. Today as we all know, Ford’s investment in the emergent economy paid off well with markets like India that have been at the epicentre of production, sales and exports. It was Mr. Alan Mulally who brought up the idea of the ‘One Ford’ strategy, which made sure that products like the Figo and EcoSport reach Indian shores.
While the super successful Figo and EcoSport came courtesy of Ford’s global development efforts; the next generation of vehicles for the domestic market could be developed in India to meet customer preferences. Ford suggested that it will take up a lot more research and development efforts in India, especially on the design side, based on customer feedback. Even though the Ford’s global development is in place, India will provide vital inputs into the future development of vehicles, a news we broke earlier with the next generation Mustang taking Indian help for design.
Ford is betting big on India and currently has the ‘B562’ platform in the works that will provide the momentum for Indian R&D operations. Compared to overseas markets, India commands a radically different setup of products that suits the needs and aspirations of customers. The fact that we have the sub 4-metre compact sedan space courtesy of excise duty rules is the simplest example there is. The company is optimistic that the new government will also bring reforms that will aid in the economy as well as the automotive sector’s development.
Having struggled for the majority of its 17 years of presence in India, Ford is at its peak right now. The company sold 6053 vehicles in May this year, up by 51% against the same period last year primarily because of the Figo and EcoSport. Ford has also stepped up its export operations in recent times and shipped out 6235 vehicles in May, compared to 1991 units in the same period last year.
India has become a major export hub for Ford, with products moving to major developed countries across the globe. The American automaker will also be making major investments in the next couple of years in India. The Sanand plant will be open soon for domestic and export operations and carries an investment of $1 billion. The Chennai plant on the other hand has been working in three shifts to meet local and overseas demand.