Global auto major Ford today said it will invest USD 142 million at its Chennai plant in India to manufacture a new compact sports utility vehicle (SUV) named EcoSport.
The company’s wholly owned arm,Ford India,will roll out the product in the market later this year.
“We are investing USD 142 million in Chennai to produce that vehicle. It really is a tremendous show of confidence to the team in Chennai,” Ford India President and Managing Director Michael Boneham told reporters here.
He said the investment will be on equipment required for manufacturing the product,including dye and tools.
The capacity of the Chennai plant will remain at 2,00,000 units annually.
The fresh investment will be over and above the USD 72 million that the company is pumping into the plant to augment powertrain capacity.
“By the end of this,we would have invested USD 1.142 billion at the Chennai plant,” Boneham said.
Ford is also setting up a second plant at Sanand,in Gujarat,at an investment of USD 1 billion.
Commenting on the new SUV,Ford Asia-Pacific President Joe Hinrichs said: “We have promised to bring more than 50 new vehicles and powertrains in Asia and Africa by mid-decade and the all new EcoSport continues to deliver on that pledge.”
While the company has not disclosed the details of the product,saying it will be shared at the time of market launch,it said the EcoSport will be powered by a one-litre EcoBoost engine that “delivers power and performance that will rival a traditional 1.6 petrol engine…”
The all-new EcoSport will make its global debut here and will be sold in 100 markets around the world.
This is the second of eight global models that the company plans to bring to India by the middle of the decade.
Commenting on the EcoSport launch,Ford President and CEO Alan Mulally said,”This is the first compact SUV and we are launching it right at the heart of the compact (vehicles) market.”
Expressing confidence in growth of the Indian market,he said,”India is a very important market for us and we have announced eight new models would be launched by the middle of this decade.”
He said the global market is still robust and expects about 5 per cent growth consecutively in the next two years.
“The Asia-Pacific market has slowed down a little bit,but there is tremendous growth potential.”