Ford Motors to increase car exports out of India: CEO

Chennai, June 17 (IANS) Global automobile major Ford Motor Company considers India as a major market for it to grow as well as ship out more cars to other markets even as it is bringing down production in line with the demand in Europe, said a top company official.

Betting big on the 'B' or compact car platform/chassis, the company also hopes to generate higher sales volume from the Asia Pacific region in few years time from the current levels, president and CEO Alan Mulally told reporters here Monday.

"Ford will be exporting Figo and EcoSport models out of India. The Indian plants will support the market here and also other markets," said Mulally, who was here to flag off the company's new small sports utility vehicle (SUV) EcoSport at its Indian plant near here.

India is one of the third of the five plants globally where EcoSport will be produced. Ford has invested around $142 million at its plant near here to roll out the SUV.

The production line is now capable of producing six different car bodies on one line and ten variants of EcoSport.

Currently Ford rolls out EcoSport at its plants in Camacari (Brazil) and Chongoing (China). Production will also start subsequently at Rayong (Thailand) and Tatarstan (Russia).

According to Mulally, the company is reaping the benefits of its investments made in the Asia Pacific region.

He said there is huge opportunity in the B - platform where different kinds of body panels or "hats" can be put on.

Questioned about the company losing out to the competition that is bringing out new models every three months, Mulally said Ford is focusing on the B-segment and there will be more models.

On the company set to lose around $2 million in Europe this year and whether would be closing down any its European plants and ship out cars out of India, Mulally said the European market is a major concern of all.

According to him, the leadership in European countries is dealing with the economic fall and some are of the view that it has bottomed out.

He said Ford Motor Company is rejigging its European operations and also bringing down it production levels to match the demand there.

According to Mulally, Ford Motor Company still supplies engines to Tata Motors' Jaguar and Landrover models. The Indian company acquired the two models from Ford some years back.

Ford's plant here is yet to touch its full production capacity and a new plant is expected to go on stream next year in Gujarat

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