Ford India exports engines to Thailand, Figo to S. Africa

Chennai, June 11 (IANS) Ford India, the Indian arm of the American automobile manufacturer Ford Motor Company, has started shipping out diesel and petrol engines to Thailand and the fully built Figo small car to South Africa, a top company official said Friday.

‘We have recently started exporting diesel and petrol engines to Thailand. The monthly demand there is around 3,000 units. It is difficult to comment on the future volumes as it depends on the demand in the Thailand market as well as other markets the Thailand plant serves,’ Ford India President and Managing Director Michael Boneham told reporters here.

‘While we are exporting Figo model to South Africa, new overseas markets are being explored,’ he said.

Boneham said the company will start a second shift at its Maraimalai Nagar plant near here as Figo is logging good volumes.

‘With the second shift the production capacity will go up to 140,000 units. The additional production will bring down the waiting time for Figo. We will be increasing the headcount in the plant by 1,000,’ he added.

According to him, the company had booked orders for around 21,000 Figos and delivered around 16,000 units till date.

About the market response to Figo, he said: ‘The good response is due to an overall package – price and cost of ownership in terms of fuel economy, cost of parts.’

He said 60 percent of Figo sales comprise of diesel engines.

On holding on to the price line given the increase in input costs, he said: ‘It is going to be tough. We will look at the competition and decide.’

In the first five months of this calendar year, Ford India has crossed the total production of around 30,000 units it had reported in 2009, Boneham said.

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