While ford has wooed us with their unimaginable services for every now and then; the world is now going to witness some Made in India cars running on roads. Ford India’s popular compact sport utility vehicle EcoSport may be shipped to the US for sale starting October 2017, multiple people familiar with the process said.
This is going to be a very important deal in regards to automotive history. No US car maker has ever exported cars made in India back to its home market. If Ford gets the green signal, it will mark a historic first not only for the American car maker but also for India, which has built robust manufacturing base car exports thanks to investments by Hyundai, Maruti, Ford and other auto giants over the years.
Ford has already begun work on developing a face-lifted version of the SUV for the North American markets. It has also kicked off a preliminary tendering process to source components and the request for quotation is for as many as 90,000 units a year, which is more than the number of vehicles it sells in India.
On a much higher note, India made cars is being sold to many markets of one those including Europe. India is already a key export base for Ford Motor it ships India-made compact vehicles to Europe. Already, motorcycles made by Royal Enfield and KTM, and Mahindra’s tractors are sold in the US.
But the biggest threat to India’s chances come from Ford Thailand, which too is competing for the order to supply the SUV for the US and Canadian markets.
Starting with the Figo hatchback in 2010; its plan was to ship 30-40% of total production, but in the past two years it exported more than half the local output. In the fiscal year ended March 31, 2015, Ford India exported 78,814 of the 1.53 lakh vehicles produced in India. The EcoSport accounted for almost 70% of the shipments.
Thanks to demand from some of the overseas markets, the unit operated the Chennai factory 24X7 for the first time in the second half of last year. Once the US volume kicks in, the plant is likely to transform into an EcoSport production base, with a small assembly base for the new Endeavour SUV and Fiesta sedan, the people said.
If Ford ships its vehicles to the US from India, it will give confidence to other manufacturers too to explore such opportunities, he said. Japanese two-wheeler maker Yamaha already exports India-made R15 150cc sports bike to its home market, selling it in the entry-level segment.