SANAND, India — At the site of Ford’s second plant in India, currently under construction in Sanand, there clear signs of a prosperous future. Ahead of a major ceremony involving Ford executives and dealers, rain had fallen – an auspicious sign in India.
The Ford team had traveled from all corners of the country to the state of Gujarat to join a unique ceremony and to be part of the Blue Oval’s incredible growth story in India.
As the signal was given, the team raised their hands and then cast their handprints in wet cement, thus making a commitment to their partnership with the carmaker and being witness to the Blue Oval’s growing investment and commitment in India. The crowd comprised over 150 dealers and Ford India’s senior leadership, led by Joginder Singh, president and managing director.
The dealers, who were in the neighbouring city of Ahmedabad on Tuesday to attend Ford India’s National Dealers’ Council, were taken on a tour of Ford’s latest site under construction to see the massive investment and effort Ford is making to make India a manufacturing and export hub in Asia Pacific.
“This is indeed the ‘Show Me’ time for the $1 billion investment we have made here in Sanand. As you can see, we have made significant progress in construction, and this plant when it is completed later next year will raise Ford India’s installed capacity to 440,000 cars and 610,000 engines per year,” said Singh.
“Thank you for joining us at this exciting occasion. Our continued investment in India, with your investment in the Ford franchise, is a really powerful combination that will usher in a great future with many new products,” he added.
Kel Kearns, director, Manufacturing, Sanand Vehicle and Assembly Plant, gave the delegates a detailed presentation on the many new technologies being employed at the plant, among the largest in Ford Asia Pacific.
“With a fully automated body shop, a versatile stamping line and 3-wet rotational dip pain technology, this is among the most technologically advanced plants Ford is building today,” he said.
The participants then donned safety jackets, helmets and were taken on buses to the site accompanied by senior plant leadership as their guides. They were given live commentaries on the progress of construction of various shops on the site as the buses rolled on. Massive structures of steel at the body shop, stamping, paint shop and engine plant are being erected at the site with over 3,500 people working.
The dealers were then taken to a ground opposite the paint shop where they were handed out gloves and asked to cast their ‘handprints,’ next to name tags of their respective dealerships.
‘This is indeed wonderful. I was there when the Chennai plant was still under construction, and I’m lucky enough to be a part of this event at Sanand,” said Raj Naresh Singh, chairman of the Dealers’ Council and a senior Dealer Principal of Ford in Punjab.
Apart from cementing the relationship with dealers, Ford India also used the opportunity to cement its commitment to local communities on the occasion. Singh handed over a plaque, symbolizing the donation of ten computers to Govind Bhai, principal of the neighbouring Government Primary School at Bol village.
“We become citizens of the places we work in. And this is to reinforce our commitment to digital literacy of the local community. We hope the ten computers will equip the school children in our immediate neighbourhood to learn better and face the future with confidence,” Singh added.
“Thanks to Ford for the kind gesture. I am happy that over 200 children of my school can now have access to better learning through computers with your help,” said the elated principal.