US auto major Ford is on a network expansion spree in an attempt to increase its footprint in India.
"Every 10 days we will be putting up a new service or sales outlets," said Michael Bonham, MD, Ford India. The company opened 45 dealerships last week, taking its total service points to 200-plus which it hopes to triple by 2016. This is to ensure a backup is in place as Ford is launching eight new models, five of them small cars.
"We will get further into the rural India," he said.
Ford India clocked sales of 1,20,000 cars in 2011. By 2014, it plans to have an ambitious production capacity of 4,40,000 units between its Chennai and Gujarat plants, besides making 600,000 engines.
Ford exported 20,000 units last year, mainly its small car Figo and Fiesta, rebranded for overseas markets as Classic. "We are currently exporting to 55 countries and this will increase to 50 by the end of this year," Boneham said. Ford is the fourth big player after Hyundai, Suzuki and Nissan to use India as its small car export hub.
Ford exports cars from India to Africa, west Asia, South America and the Caribbean islands.