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India to be Ford’s centre piece for small cars

The Hindu BusinessLine:  June, 2014

Chennai: With 60 per cent of the cars sold worldwide being compacts and sedans, “India is the centre piece for small cars” for Ford, according to Alan Mulally, President and CEO, Ford Motor Company.

More than half the cars sold globally are in the Ford Focus and Fiesta sized segment. So, the Indian customer and the company’s design team here are important.

Ford has decided its Indian operations will be the export hub. It now exports to over 50 countries and “we see that increasing over time,” he said in an interaction with media persons.

Mulally, who retires in July after eight years at the US-based automobile company, said for the first time, Ford used a single platform in the B-sized segment to offer the Figo and the EcoSport, a hatchback and a small SUV. This flexibility is an inherent part of Ford’s strategy worldwide.

Small cars are no longer about being ‘cheap and cheerful.’ Customers expect them to offer safety, quality and fuel efficiency as much as cars in any other segment, according to Mulally.

The company has nine basic platforms that can cater to over 85 per cent of the volume of vehicles sold globally covering compact cars to SUVs and wagons. It can bring to India any of its offerings including the largest of sedans in the market, if the customers want it.

Ford’s investments in India and China, the fastest growing markets, have been ‘tremendous’. “You are our future,” he said.