Ford to launch four new car models in India over 18-20 months

Monday, 22 September 2014 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Reuters: Ford Motor Co plans to launch four new car models in India and is looking to increase the amount of locally-made parts to reduce the cost of its vehicles sold in the country, the head of its local unit said on Friday. Foreign carmakers such as Ford, Volkswagen AG and General Motors Co are lining up new car models in India on hopes of a pickup in demand after sales fell for two consecutive years in a slowing economy. Car sales in the country are expected to grow by 5-10% this fiscal year. Also, India is expected to become the world’s third-largest passenger car market by 2018, moving up from sixth place today, according to IHS Automotive. “Within the next 18-20 months we plan to launch four new models in India,” Nigel Harris, president of Ford India, told Reuters in an interview. While Harris declined to give details, Ford had showcased a compact version of its Figo car, already sold in India, at the Delhi auto show earlier this year and he said there is ‘a pretty strong indication that it is the right product’. Ford’s sales in India have increased 9.5% to 84,469 vehicles in the fiscal year that ended on March 31, pushing up its market share to 3.4% from 2.9% a year ago, industry data showed. The US carmaker had said in 2010 it would launch 8 vehicle models, based on its global car platforms, in India by the end of 2015, a target the company is unlikely to meet due to the economic slowdown and sluggish car sales. “We will be close to that, but a couple of the models will be deferred by a couple of years,” said Harris. Ford continues to increase the sourcing of components from India in cars that will help reduce the vehicle cost, he said. The company exports a third of the cars it makes in India, and aims to push that to almost half over the next five years. It currently exports to 37 countries from India and plans to increase that to 50 over the same period, Harris added.