Ford India gears up to launch small car, expand operations

Ford India's new small car, to be built at its Chennai facility will come in petrol and diesel versions of capacities 1.2 litre and 1.5 litre respectively to satisfy the Indian government's definition of a small car, according to company officials. The proposed small car would have 85 per cent local content.

According to Michael Boneham, president and MD of Ford India, the company is in talks with Tata Steel for better steel prices with the increased volumes.

The company was earlier sourcing steel blankets - cut steel sheets from its sister plant in Thailand.

The company's vendor base has also broadened from 30 to 180 and according to Boneham the company policy is to have multiple vendors for most of the components and retain single vendors for certain critical items.

To increase the production to cater to the rising demand, the company has also installed 92 robots for fast precision work.

Ford vice president – manufacturing Tom S Chackalackal said a new paint process to give high gloss finish will be introduced that will make it the first volume plant to introduce the three wet high solid process. The process will significantly save on painting overheads.

Ford plans to launch the new 'Endeavor' with this process. The process increases durability and provides a scratch-resistant finish, according Chackalackal.