Encouraged by the strong demand for its hatchback Figo, Ford India plans to export the car to 18 more countries this year, a top company official said today.
"Currently, we are exporting [Figo] to 32 countries. We are hoping to increase that to 50 markets," Ford India President and Managing Director Michael Boneham told reporters here after launching 45 new dealer outlets across 35 cities.
Ford India produces Figo, medium sedan Fiesta Classic, premium sedan Fiesta and SUV Endeavour from the Chennai plant. The company is setting up a second plant in Gujarat which would begin production in 2014.
After unveiling a new Ford India showroom here, Boneham said the company would increase the number of overseas markets for Figo to 50 by the year-end. Some of the new markets would be South America, North Africa and Carribean Islands.
On the government's proposal to taxing diesel vehicles, Boneham said, "There has been a lot of discussion about taxation on diesel vehicles. I don't think thats the right approach."
He said industry body SIAM (Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers) clearly believes that is not the appropriate approach.
"Already the industry is struggling here and we would not want something that will allow automobile industry which provides employement opportunities to suffer".
Boneham said Ford India grew by 15% last year and expected it to grow aby 10% year-on-year in the backdrop of sluggish market conditions due to high interest rates and fuel prices.
On the opening of 45 new outlets, he said the expansion of dealer network was not only for the launch of (SUV) Ecosport, but also to the launch of global products.
"As we have already announced our plans to introduce eight new products by middle of this decade, having 230 outlets across 123 cities demonstrates Ford Motor Company's commitment to India," he said.
Ford displayed Ecosport at the Auto Expo in New Delhi last month. Ford Ecosport would come with the tag of "for" India and "made" in India.
Replying to questions, he said since the launch of Figo, the company had been inaugurating one showroom every 10 days. "This is a global product worked by Indian engineers and has got tremendous response...," he said.
He said the company's new plant in Sanand, Gujarat was "on track" and the construction would soon begin.
On their proposal to set up diesel engine plant at Maraimalai Nagar near here, he said the plant was expected to commence operations in April. "By April we will have it up and running," he said.
With the inauguration of 45 dealer networks across 35 cities, Ford currently has 230 outlets across 120 cities in the country.