CHENNAI, India — Thousands of employees cheered as Ford in India’s senior leadership unveiled the first all-new Ecosport to roll off the final assembly line at Ford’s Chennai manufacturing plant.
Every inch of the sprawling green front lawns at the plant was occupied by the enthusiastic Ford team, including those from Ford India and Global Business Services, which had worked hard to bring to life Ford’s latest urban SUV. Chennai is the third Ford plant worldwide after Camacari in Brazil and Chongqing in China to achieve this milestone.
“So finally the game-changer that we planned for, worked hard at and looked forward to, is here, and thanks to you for making this possible,” Joginder Singh, president and managing director, Ford India, told the 2500-strong audience.
Singh said he has been listening to a lot of customer feedback across India during the EcoSport Urban Discoveries roadshow held in 12 Indian cities, and that “It has created such a buzz and curiosity in the market that there are customers who are ready to put their money on the table, and want to take it home even without sitting inside or taking it for a test drive.”
Singh then invited the senior leadership and the launch team to join him onstage as he pulled the cover off the silhouette of the most-awaited vehicle from Ford in India. Amidst billowing smoke, loud music and exploding confetti, a gleaming Mars Red EcoSport emerged as the ecstatic audience burst into spontaneous cheering and applause.
Singh also reminded the team about Ford’s deep commitment to quality as they move to the formal launch of the product and urged them to “maintain a laser-sharp focus on quality…Customer expectations are high, and high performing teams like ours always exceed customer expectations. This is the bar we have to set for ourselves.”
Tom Chackalackal, executive director, Manufacturing, said this was an instance of going further in Ford as multiple teams across various functions and the region came together to make the roll out possible. “We must keep our focus on quality and achieve the similar low TGW (things gone wrong) standards of Figo that we’re known for. This will be a great product that will be exported to over 60 countries and propel India to be an export hub.”
Chackalackal said the event was an opportunity to showcase the urban SUV before it is placed before the media, and announced a lucky draw that will select 18 lucky employees across Ford entities in India to drive the vehicle during a drive in Goa this month.
Dancing Rockers, a group of employees from the engine plant, presented a jazzy, colourful dance show, followed by foot-tapping Bollywood and Tamil songs from R. Sathish, an employee from Body Construction. A special T-shirt with EcoSport branding and a special launch were announced to mark the milestone.
D Siva Kumar, manager, New Model Program at ford India thanked the entire Ford team for coming together to make this new car rollout possible within tight deadlines. “I am sure the team will demonstrate the same spirit as it burns the midnight oil and readies the cars for the ‘OK to ship’ date.”
For Ford India, this was also a moment to bid a warm goodbye to Sandeep Sanyal, executive director, New Projects, who is stepping down after 16 years of distinguished service.
“As the sun went down, it felt as if another sun was being born right here in the form of EcoSport. It was indeed a proud and memorable occasion to be part of this milestone,” said G.Chandan, an employee from Ford Technology Services, India who attended the event.