CHENNAI, India — With legions of young people and families increasingly able to realize the dream of personal transportation, India offers a unique growth opportunity for Ford, said David Schoch, president, Ford Asia Pacific, during a visit to the Chennai manufacturing plant.
In his first visit since assuming the role of president for Asia Pacific, Schoch joined the morning shift as they started production for the day. He walked the shop floor to get a feel for how folks on the line were doing, and saw first hand how colleagues seamlessly adjusted when an EcoSport pre-production vehicle came down the line..
“India is one of our key growth markets and we are continuing to invest here to build up manufacturing capacity. This plant, which has already achieved many milestones, has given us wonderful products like the Figo and, after today, I am confident they will repeat the success with the EcoSport,” said Schoch, who was delighted to see the transformation the plant has undergone since his last visit in 2000. “I appreciate the great work you are doing, keep it up,” he told the employees.
Schoch fittingly began the review where the build process starts -- in the stamping shop. The sprawling 4,115 sq.m new Blanking Line Two has a capacity for 4.5-5 million hits per year and will support increasing demand from export markets for vehicles manufactured in India. He then moved through the Body Shop, Paint, TCF and the engine plant, engaging with employees in every shop to better understand their perspective and the issues and opportunities on the line that day. The employees presented some of their innovative Natural Work Group projects.
Joginder Singh, president and managing director, Ford India, Tom Chackalackal, executive director, Manufacturing, Senthil Kumar, vice president, Vehicle Operations, Radhakrishnan Balasundaram, vice president, Powertrain Operations, V Pandiyan, vice president, Human Resources and other senior managers joined him during the review.
Singh said the achievements of Ford’s facilities in India and the talent of its workforce are getting attention from the entire Ford world, adding that he and the team were looking forward to realizing the many opportunities to come.
Schoch and the Ford India leadership team reviewed their better plan, especially as it relates to the current market challenges, and preparations for the upcoming launch of the all-new EcoSport.
“This is a great product and customers are eager to experience it. We must ensure that we deliver a truly world-class vehicle that exceeds their expectations and after today, I'm confident we will do just that,” he added.
Schoch also met with 83 Ford College Graduates who have just completed six months with the company. He was impressed with the experience they had gained in such a short time. The trainees presented a skit about their diversity in which 14 languages from various states of India were spoken.
“I must say I am pretty impressed by the sheer diversity of India and it is nice to know that you have had such a wonderful learning opportunity. I promise to come back to spend some more time with you again and am always available should you ever need a one-on-one with me,” said Schoch to the trainees.
Later, Schoch addressed a meeting of Ford in India managers at Global Business Services in Chennai.
”There is no doubt that India is going to be one of the most significant markets for us in this decade. This is a very young and hungry market that is ready for the affordable, reliable and fun-to-drive cars that we will continue to offer. It’s pretty wonderful and exciting to be here,” he concluded.