CHENNAI, India — Ford will deliver “unprecedented quantum changes” in its presence in India over the next couple of years as it completes its nearly US$1 billion investment and recruitment of almost 5,000 people at its second integrated manufacturing facility, said Joginder Singh, president and managing director, Ford India.
Singh was speaking at a seminar on “Auto Industry: Thriving, Growing & Leading” as part of last week’s Vibrant Gujarat Summit held in Gandhinagar.
Now in its tenth year, the biennial event was attended by thousands of industry heads from companies which have pledged billions of dollars in new investment. Attendees were overwhelmingly positive about the ease and speed of setting up and doing business in the western Indian state, led by a supportive and investor-friendly state government.
“We are excited by the wonderful opportunity that lies ahead of us, and we are glad that Gujarat is our partner in this journey,” said Singh, who also explained how Gujarat fits into the larger Ford landscape in India.
“By 2020, we project that one in every three vehicles that Ford sells globally will be sold here in the Asia Pacific region. Today this number is about one in six. This represents an unprecedented rate of growth for Ford in this region, with India contributing significantly, as part of this aggressive growth strategy.”
To support this strategy, Ford is building seven new state-of-the art, world-class factories in Asia Pacific, and launching more than 50 new vehicles and powertrains in this region by mid-decade. Of the seven factories, two — a vehicle assembly plant and an engine manufacturing plant — are being built at Sanand in Gujarat and will supplement the existing manufacturing facility in Chennai.
The seminar held at Mahatma Mandir in the state capital was attended by the Who’s Who of the Indian financial, industrial, and diplomatic world, including top leadership participation from the automobile sector.
Pointing out that Ford zeroed in on Gujarat for several factors — a favourable investment climate, proven track record of growth, proactive state government support, good connectivity and availability of infrastructure and utilities — Singh highlight that Ford India has committed half of its total investment for India to Gujarat, and from its two facilities will introduce eight new products around mid-decade that customers want and value, by increasing its total production capacity in the country to 440,000 vehicles and 610,000 engines annually, as Sanand is planned to be commissioned in 2014.
“We at Ford are well on our way in Sanand. We have about 4,000 people working on our site in Sanand as we speak, the road leading to the plant is planned to be named ‘Henry Ford Marg’, and the Blue Oval will be planted firmly in Gujarat. Once the facility becomes operational in 2014, we will see vehicles and engines rolling off the production line, that will satisfy the needs of our customers not only in India, but also in our export markets,” he said amidst loud applause.
“True to the legacy and history of Ford,”Singh added, “we become ‘citizens’ of the communities in which we operate, which means that we have a great sense of social responsibility for local communities.”
Singh thanked the government of Gujarat for a productive and mutually beneficial partnership and suggested how the business climate can be improved further by listening to industry needs, maintaining investor-friendly policies, improving infrastructure and developing a skilled workforce.
Singh also took part in US-India Business Council panel discussion and a Confederation of Indian Industry national council meeting held on the sidelines of the summit.
Joginder Singh, president and managing director, Ford India.