NEW DELHI: Alan Mulally, the turnaround man at US auto major Ford, has his eyes firmly fixed on India. After tasting success with the Figo hatchback, Mulally is now set to unleash a new wave of global platforms in India as he banks on the country’s underlying potential to fuel Ford’s ambitious global plans, including increasing worldwide sales nearly 50% by mid-decade to 8 million vehicles a year.
Importantly, “India and its inputs” will figure in the development of all key global platforms the auto major develops henceforth as part of the ‘One Ford’ mantra, Mulally, here for the Delhi Auto Expo, said.
“India is a key element in Ford’s global strategy,” Mulally told TOI shortly after unveiling the compact sport-utility vehicle Eco Sport. The relevance of the Indian market can be gauged from the fact that the Eco Sport’s new version makes its global debut in India ahead of introduction in about 100 markets across the world.
“The Figo has been a game-changer for Ford and we will now be getting in as many as six new global platforms in India by the middle of this decade,” the Ford chief executive officer said. The EcoSport is the second of eight new global models that Ford plans to launch in India as it targets Asian and African markets.
Created as the latest of ‘One Ford’ global products, the EcoSport was developed in Brazil in partnership with Ford teams from Asia, Europe and North America. Mulally said with India set to play a key role in Ford’s global strategy in the coming years, the market’s inputs will be vital in the development of new platforms. “India and its inputs will form a key part in the ‘One Ford’ strategy and this was done even during the development of the new generation Eco Sport SUV.”
Ford has sold 700,000 units of an older version of the EcoSport in Brazil in nine years. Of the 8 million volume by the middle of the decade, Ford expects 60% to 70% numbers to come in from the Asia-Pacific and Africa regions where it will introduce 50 new vehicles and powertrains.
With the Figo turning around the company’s fortunes in India, Ford will have a firm focus on the big-volume hatchback segment for new products.
The company sold 96,270 vehicles in India in 2011, a growth of 15%. Ford India also exported 22,521 cars, almost three times as many as in 2010.