Ford small cars for a big market share through Make in India commitment (Sanand Plant photos)
Make in India has a lot to do with manufacturing whether it’s for consumption in India, or for exports. Ford has been keen on establishing its business in India as one that fosters growth in an ever expanding Indian auto market alongwith establishing the country as an export hub.
Ford EcoSport compact SUV had the right intention, and was met with great cheer and demand. Unfortunately, keeping customers waiting didn’t work in Ford’s favour. The car still continues to be popular, and Ford India sales has been subject to production capacity.
Ford India is sticking to compact car offerings with the next big launch being Ford Figo Aspire, a new sub-four-metre compact sedan. Aspire is the first car to roll-out from the new Sanand plant.
Ford Sanand vehicle manufacturing plant has an initial installed annual capacity of 240,000 units. Engine plant will have an initial installed annual capacity of 270,000 engines. This takes Ford’s total production capacity in India to 610,000 engines, and 440,000 cars. Ford Sanand plant functionality begins with single shift operations with about 2500 employees. With production underway, Ford Sanand plant will generate employment of more than 7500 across tier I supplier partners and others in the value chain.
Ford India looks forward to an invigourated operational structure having doubled manufacturing capacity in India, and created a good many jobs to make available great cars in India, and overseas. Ford India integrated manufacturing facility launch saw Anandiben Patel, Chief Minister of Gujarat, Saurabhbhai Patel, Minister of Finance and, Vijaybhai Rupani, Minister of Transport along with senior officials from Gujarat government in attendance.
Mark Fields, Ford president and CEO says the Sanand plant opening takes the auto manufacturers growth commitment to a new high in India. Ford Sanand plant houses a vehicle manufacturing facility, engine plant, and stamping, body, paint, assembly operations, and machining among other functions. Machining and assembly operations for engine manufacturing is largely an automated process with a lesser number of employees responsible for engine manufacturing. The vehicle assembly plant will be responsible for most of the hiring at Sanand. Both plants are undergoing testing and process validation, while newly appointed staff are painstakingly perfecting their skill set to manufacture a car.
Agreement between Ford and Gujarat state for Sanand plant was signed on 28 July, 2011. In under four years an investment of US$1 billion has come to fruition, and Ford India has 460 acres of development to show for it. Increased production will let Ford India compete viably in the domestic Indian auto market, while also letting the manufacturer triple exports from here. The plant neighbours 19 auto ancillary parks.
Sanand isn’t the only region being developed, but is part of a 125 km stretch that includes Hansalpur, Vithalpur, Jetro, and goes up to Halol. The region prides itself in investment commitment from Tata Motors, Honda, Hero, Maruti and others by 2017.
In the next 7-8 years, investment from part vendors in the Indian Detroit belt is projected at US$ 2.2 million. Termed the Detroit of India, collective automobile manufacturing in the region is projected to reach 125 million passengers and 3 million two wheelers by 2020.