With its launch of Ecosport (from the Chennai plant) scheduled for the first quarter of 2013, Ford is looking to enter the compact SUV segment. The Ecosport would be launched in both the petrol and diesel variants and would also be exported from India.
Ecosport would give Ford, a tremendous growth pad in the Indian market, with Renault's Duster having increased the excitement around the category he said. He added, customers had started to recognise the SUV type of vehicle.
According to Boneham, high interest rates and excise duties had driven down customer confidence, and he hoped things would start looking up during the festive season.
He said, though the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers had revised market growth from 11-12 per cent to 8-10 per cent the company was confident about the Indian market in the long term.
The engine facility at Maramalainagar which was commissioned in 2008 with one variant, now manufactures 17 variants, with around 40 per cent of the engines being exported to Asia Pacific and Africa.
"It will be our second Global SUV Ecosport (to be rolled out from India). It will have around similar localisation levels of Figo and Classic" Boneham told reporters in Chennai.
In addition to its manufacturing unit at Maraimalai Nagar near Chennai, the company has set up its second plant at Sanand in Gujarat as part of its plans to offer eight new products by 2015.
The localisation in Ford Figo and Classic currently stood at 80 per cent with most of components supplied by local manufacturers, according to company officials.