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Ford Boost To India

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A couple of years ago when the Ford Figo was launched it changed the fortunes of Ford India. They went ahead and sold 98,000 cars in 2010-11. While the industry has grown by only 3 per cent since, the industry expects to grow at 7 per cent in 2012-13. 

"Our research says that the Indian customer wants something more than a car," says Michael Bonham, MD of Ford India. The compact SUV market has just begun to heat up in the sub Rs 10- lakh range. Renault is coming up with the Duster, Nissan has the NV200 and Mahindra has plans to launch the mini Xylo. But on Wednesday Ford surprised everyone with its powerful 1-litre three cylinder engine on its EcoBoost SUV unveiled in Delhi.

The engine, EcoBoost,  which will be produced in India, will provide more power like that of 1.6 litre petrol engine. The diesel version will also find its way in to the market and sources say it would be a 1.5 litre engine. The car is built on the b-platform, which is a versatile global platform based on the 'one Ford' strategy. The SUV was built on the Ford Fiesta platform.

The SUV market is 20 per cent of the 2.2 million Indian market and there is a gap for smaller SUVs below the Mahindra Scorpio and Xylo range. Ford has a 3 per cent share in the SUV market in India. The EcoSport will probably change that. But M&M are the market leaders with more than 200000 vehices sold.

"This product will be localised completely and will create a set of consumers," says Bonham. It will be exported to 30 odd countries. Although Ford did not reveal the launch date, it mentioned that it will be within 2012. This is the second of the B-platform cars after the new Fiesta released last year.

Ford has 2,25,000 manufacturing capacity and a 300,000 capacity engine plant in Chennai. It has a similar plant coming up in Sanand. It has made a total investment of $2.14 billion in India so far.