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Ford to launch eight new vehicles in India by mid decade

Ford Motor Company will launch eight new vehicles in India by the middle of the decade as it moves to rapidly expand its presence in the fast growing market.

Joe Hinrichs, president of Ford Asia Pacific and Africa (APA), made the announcement today during a keynote speech titled "Managing Growth – Evolving Market Dynamics" at the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) Conference in New Delhi.

"We have big plans for India and for this region," Hinrichs said. "As we have seen from the spectacular early success of the Ford Figo, more and more Indian consumers appreciate the fuel efficient, economical, high quality, safe, and fun-to-drive vehicles that Ford offers. By the middle of this decade we will introduce eight new vehicles to India from our global platforms, in segments appropriate for this market. This is part of our 'better plan' to bring more and more vehicles from our vast global portfolio to India and other markets in Asia Pacific and Africa."

Ford India launched the Ford Figo subcompact in the first quarter of this year, selling more than 30,000 units in 25 weeks.

"Although the vast majority of vehicles we produce in India will help satisfy growing local demand, we also continue to pursue export opportunities," said Michael Boneham, president and managing director, Ford India. "We are pleased to announce that Ford India will export our locally-produced, hot-selling Ford Figo to 50 new markets, including Mexico, North Africa and the Middle East starting next year."

Ford has been exporting the Figo to South Africa since May 2010. Ford India also exports the Ford Fiesta (branded as the "Ikon") and diesel powertrains to South Africa, as well as 1.4- and 1.6-litre petrol engines to Thailand. Ford sells the Endeavor, Ikon, Fiesta and Figo in India, all locally-produced.

The launch and export of both Figo and the engines are the result of a USD 500-million investment in India to expand manufacturing and set up an engine plant there.

Ford's APA region encompasses markets on three continents, including Australia, China, India, Thailand and South Africa. Industry sales in the region will increase from 16 million units in 2009, to an estimated 35 million units by 2018. The region is expected to account for nearly 70 percent of Ford's worldwide growth in the next decade.

Sales of vehicles in India have grown at an average annual rate of 17 percent over the past five years, and an estimated 10 million to 11 million people will migrate from two-wheeled forms of transport to small cars in the next few years.

Hinrichs' remarks at the SIAM conference focused on strategies for managing change, specifically the impact of rising demand and increasing capacity on the value chain.

"Introducing eight new vehicles by the middle of the decade is an ambitious plan that will have tremendous impact on our manufacturing operations, supply chain, dealers and employees. As part of our better plan for India, we are working today to make sure the value chain is ready for the demands we will place on it in the years to come," Hinrichs said.

Expanding capacity creates particular challenges for suppliers, which are responsible for a large part of a vehicle, and requires new approaches.

"In India and in the rest of the world, we are simplifying the way we work with suppliers by reducing complexity and expanding part commonality," Hinrichs said. "By 2012, more than 70 percent of the vehicles sold under the Ford brand globally will be built off 15 core platforms. By bringing suppliers into the development process earlier we can ultimately generate more profit for the supply chain."

This leads to lower development cost and greater economies of scale for our suppliers, and ultimately a higher quality and more economical vehicle for consumers, he said.

"To succeed in a place as unique and fascinating as India, we have learned to listen more closely to our customers, dealers and suppliers," Hinrichs said. "Our ONE Ford plan says to adapt and to localise. It has made us a better company here in India and around the world."

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