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Friday, October 29, 2010

Ford India- some interesting facts

Yesterday, while being driven to Bangalore with a few Ford India officials, I got an opportunity to have a discussion with these officials and find out some interesting facts about Ford India in particular and cars in general. Below are some of the information which you might find interesting, in case you’re automobile enthusiast. If you’re not, please skip this post.

Ford India’s Chennai plant has a production capacity of 2 lakh cars and 2.5 lakh engines per annum
When I asked if it is remotely feasible to have a provision to give customers an opportunity to custom configure cars (like how Dell laptops can be customized, details in this post), they felt though that could be an exciting proposition, such an approach doesn’t look viable, at least in near future, for mass production cars. Most of the manufacturers are currently working towards meeting existing demand. Time and cost overruns involved in customization do not get justified for low budget cars. Such features are available in overpriced built to order luxury cars.

I asked if the Ford Figos [Review], which are being used in the discover Smart Drive, were driven to Chandigarh or were taken in a container. I was told they were driven till there (via Mumbai, where artwork is done), as container would take long time.

When asked about possible competition from Toyota Etios, I was told its all part of the game.

FordFigo overtook Santro and Indica by a few units to become 5th most sold small car in India, as per September auto sales figures. When I asked if they’d sustain these numbers in long run, the officials were very bullish. The Figo is just about 6 months old and the response has been amazing. Though 6.5k units a month is not too big a number, its a matter of pride for us as we’ve started from nowhere and have build a strong presence. Things can only get better.

I asked lots of questions about upcoming launches (asked if they’re planning a CNG variant for Delhi NCR (Few Maruti models and Toyota Innova are available in CNG), asked if they’re planning any cars in 10-13 lakh range-to replace the earlier Ford Mondeo and take on Honda Civic, Corolla and the likes), the officials said about 8 new models are lined up to be launched in near future and more details will be made available at appropriate time.

FordFigo’s facebook page has added over 7000 fans during October and growing, nearing to double its Pre October count of 8000+, there were some discussions around this. Fan response have been great, many of them have a huge wish list for possible additional features for Figo, but without a willingness to pay more :)

On being asked why only couples were allowed to participate, the reply was simple and straight forward that its how target audience was identified. There’re lots of contests for rest of the fans to get involved and win. Figo’s Discover smart drive received over 400 entries from enthusiastic couples, from which 4 lucky ones were selected.


Above: 4th Ford Figo Couple: Nischal Ram and Niharika on their way to Bangalore

Figo was designed in Australia, while lead engineer and many others were from India, 80% + is new. The crash testing is also done in Australia while Chennai plant has a track for quality testing.

All cars have a 4 letter factory code, with which it is identified from drawing board till its assembly. Those working in the plant recognize the cars with these internal codes and not the commercial names given to them later

Ford is also undertaking an initiative called DSFL (Drive Safe For Life) wherein drivers are trained to drive safely and adopt various simple but effective measures that increase fuel efficiency and engine life. More about this later, as I’m heading to RVCE Bangalore today where one such session is planned.

Disclaimer: Above information is sourced from an informal discussion and are not to be treated as official communication from ford. Please validate information officially with ford before using it for any formal purposes.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

good to know... 8 new models?

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