MUMBAI – The first details ofIndia Ltd.’s strategic plan for reversing its declining sales are announced by Michael Boneham, new managing director and president, who says last fiscal-year sales declined 19% to 33,880 units.
The plan begins with this month’s launch of the upgraded Fiesta SXI sedan and the introduction of the Fiesta S variant that accelerates 0-62 mph (100 km/h) in 11 seconds.
India has sold 65,000 Fiestas over the last two-and-a-half years and expects to do well with the new models that are priced between Rs700,000-Rs815,000 ($16,405-$19,100). The auto maker also has extended its 2-year warranty on all Ford vehicles sold here from 24,856 miles (40,000 km) to 62,140 miles (100,000 km).
However, the centerpiece of Ford India’s attempt to get sales back on track is the next-generation Fiesta to be introduced here in the 2009-2010 timeframe.
The new Fiesta also will be sold in the U.S., Europe and China.
The new vehicle will trigger a major expansion for the auto maker as it targets India as its regional hub for the export of small cars to Asia and Africa.
Ford India announced in January plans for a fresh investment of Rs21.5 billion ($504 million) over the next two years, taking its total investment in India to Rs37 billion ($875 million). The aim is to double vehicle production capacity to 200,000 units annually.
Additionally, a diesel-engine plant commissioned two months ago, with a capacity of 50,000 units annually, will be expanded further to become a flexible global-engine facility capable of building both gasoline and diesel engines.
Initial production will be 250,000 units annually to meet demand in the Asia/Pacific region.
Ford India presently sells its flagship Ikon, small Fiesta, midsize Fusion and Endeavour SUV here. The lineup will expand with a range of new vehicles in the next six to 12 months, Boneham says.
“It is sensible to look at all options as oil prices rise,” he adds. “We are considering the introduction of eco-friendly cars (that run) on alternative fuels or hybrids.”