Mumbai: On their last
visit to Mumbai last month, on the occasion of the launch of the
new-look Ford Ikon, Ford India officials had said that they were
planning to strengthen their marketing and distributorship network
in India. What better place than Mumbai to make a beginning.
On 10 October, the
company opened a new dealer showroom in the metropolis - Shaman
Ford, Altamount Road, a swanky south Mumbai borough. The third
full-fledged dealership of Ford India in Mumbai after Wasan Ford
and Shakti Ford, Shaman Ford is a joint venture between Ford India
and the Shaman group, promoted by Jatin Seth, which has interests
in real estate, finance, investment and newspapers.
Seth is the
owner-director of the noted Janmabhoomi group of newspapers.
Shaman Ford will offer the complete array of Ford Ikon models
including the CLKi (petrol), 1.6 Rally Sport, the 1.6 ZXi (petrol)
and the 1.8 ZXi (diesel).
Speaking on the occasion
Ford India MD David Friedman said: Mumbai, especially the
western region, is a very important market for us. With Shaman
Ford we hope to service Mumbai consumers much better.
He said Shaman Ford,
through its large workshop, would offer sales, service,
spare-parts and accessories support to its customers. Shaman Ford
has also made arrangements to offer on-the-spot credit facilities
to its customers through ICICI and Ford Credit.
Gracing the occasion as
chief guest, Bollywood actress Nandita Das said: I am here
neither as a Bollywood personality nor as an expert on cars. I am
here as the niece of Seth, who is my beloved uncle. She
admitted knowing nothing about cars, and in a lighter vein added
that it did not matter which car one owned as long as it is
possible to successfully transport its occupants from one point to
another. She wished the venture every success.
Seth said he and his
group owed its success to his grandfather, Manubhai A Sheth, who
launched Janmabhoomi. Shaman is no longer an experiment
- it is the future. My staff is presently undergoing intensive
training and we will strive our very best to make the venture a
great success. He hoped people would identify Shaman Fords
new dealer showroom as The Showroom for Ford cars.
Friedman, for whom it was
the first visit to the city after taking over as managing
director, outlined two priorities:
- launching Fords
luxury segment, offering Mondeo by December 2001; and
- maintaining Ikons
position in its segment.
He said the global
slowdown has affected domestic sales, but Ikon has seen a 2-per
cent increase in the market share in its segment on a year-to-year
basis. He said the focus area now is exports, where the company is
maintaining an outgo of 3,000 CKD units every month.
Ikon is truly a global
car, he said. He reemphasised on the importance of distribution
and said Ford India is planning to expand its sales and service
network from the current level of 65 dealership in 59 cities
across India to 72 dealership in 65 cities this year.