Home Economy Ford’s investments on schedule despite retarded growth

Ford’s investments on schedule despite retarded growth


New Delhi : Ford India has decided to go ahead with its investment and diversification plans, including a $500 million outlay despite the ongoing credit crunch that has led to retarded growth in the automobile sector, a top company official said here Wednesday.

“The credit crunch has impacted buyer confidence for the short-term period but has not affected our long-term plans, including the $500 million investment plan that we announced earlier this year,” said Michael Boneham, Ford India president and managing director.

Boneham said the sector had experienced double-digit growth for the past few years, and will now have to deal with a single figure growth for more than a year.

He, however, maintained that his company would not shelve its small car project, announced last year.

“The small car is well on its way and we will launch the product by 2010, we will also go forward with other product launches in the next fiscal despite low growth,” he said.

Boneham, who was speaking at the launch of a refurbished Ford Ikon, said although the growth is small, the automaker’s India strategy would revolve around offering innovative and cost-effective products to customers so as to “get our share of that small growth”.

Dwelling on the $500-million investment the company has undertaken, Boneham said the carmaker’s integrated engine plant in Chennai, which will have an installed capacity of 250,000 units per annum by 2010, is already churning out 60,000 engines annually.

The plant will be its first outside Europe and will make low-displacement engines for cars to be rolled out of its Indian plant for both domestic market and exports.

The company’s existing $26-million diesel engine assembly plant, with a capacity for 50,000 diesel and 10,000 petrol engines for Fiesta and Fusion, would be eventually integrated with the new plant.

Ford India has the capacity to assemble some 100,000 cars annually at its facility here, which will be doubled to 200,000 by 2010.