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View Poll Results: Will Ford stick around in India?
Yes 255 53.01%
No 226 46.99%
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Old 1st May 2021, 09:42   #16
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Default Re: Ford India's future plans | Will it stick around in India?

I think VW and Ford will find sustainability only by using India as a manufacturing hub for global markets and maybe optionally sell a couple of high demand (relatively) products. I feel they are already moving in that direction. Almost every car buyer in India is an alumnus of Maruti school and their preferences don't fit the Ford/VW model of below average ownership experience in favour of above average driving pleasure, build, safety, etc. Hyundai succeeded in capturing Maruti graduates with an appeal of modern and feature rich products at slightly higher ownership costs. They remain price competitive by deleting stuff that you won't easily notice :-)

Another cultural hurdle is that most dealers and businessmen in India lack good customer service ethics. The manufacturer has to enforce strict code of conduct on the dealers without which customer experience will be shoddy. VW/Ford are not in a position to do this because they are from US/EU where this practice doesn't exist and they lack the volumes to arm twist the dealers.

For some companies, India is a good market only on paper. Tough luck.

Last edited by androdev : 1st May 2021 at 09:46.
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Old 1st May 2021, 10:14   #17
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Default Re: Ford India's future plans | Will it stick around in India?

Citibankís credit card operations by any measure are pretty successful in India. And yet, in the larger scheme of their retail operations, theyíre just not relevant enough to warrant management bandwidth in their global mindspace. Result: A shocking exit after decades of operation.

A closer analogy is Harley. At the time it left, it occupied close to 40% of the Indian Superbike market, the leader in volumes by quite a distance. And yet, in the context of its global business plans, global management could not find it in themselves to continue with their operation in its existing format and have chosen to operate via Hero motors as a more practical alternative.

Fordís thinking may not be too different. If the overall numbers (both top line as well as profits) are simply not enough to justify their Indian presence (even from a forward opportunity standpoint) they may well exit and focus on markets that bring them bigger profits, volumes and revenue.

I agree with Turbanator and GTO on most of what they said. The key to their continued presence will most likely depend on fat profit vehicles where they can stand their ground and their pricing with the quality of the product they bring - i.e. big SUVs and crossovers. And they can definitely make money off these too.

The question is will the overall numbers from operating in these limited segments and product points be considered worth the mindspace it occupies from running a full fledged operation in India. Should they in fact choose to exit, it will be interesting to see if a format like Hero / Harley (they did explore this with Mahindra) will make sense for them so that they can continue to have a piece of the Indian pie but in a more low touch format. As a car enthusiast and an admirer of Ford products, I certainly hope they either stay or explore such alternative structures that continue to make their products available to Indian customers.
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Old 1st May 2021, 10:29   #18
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Default Re: Ford India's future plans | Will it stick around in India?

Always disheartening to see a global company dilly dally on their commitment to India, both from a manufacturing perspective as well retail. While we can't specifically fault their stand on India since their outlook globally has been to move towards SUVs/crossovers, India stands to lose out, as Ford brought well engineered cars over.

Ford probably just needed a tremendous leap of faith and bold steps since they had good products and over time, also brought in marketing efforts to address pain points (cost of ownership).

I don't think there's a lot anyone can do if Ford actually decides to quit since it is a company-wide strategic (?) decision based on market/industry dynamics, I do hope the Govt. takes a note and ensures policies are VERY entrepreneurship/FDI friendly so as to boost Make in India.
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Old 1st May 2021, 10:53   #19
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Default Re: Ford India's future plans | Will it stick around in India?

I was just wondering that will it be possible for Ford to just focus on SUVs and Crossovers in our market. This focused strategy in US can be applied here too I guess. Because this segment is quite profitable for the manufacturer considering the success of Korean twins (Creta/Seltos) etc.

It's difficult to crack the hatchback and compact sedan segments as I'm seeing only Maruti, Hyundai & to some extent Tata dominate this.

Bring in the global models (i.e. watered down versions for India) & sell it here, of course keeping in mind safety and only essential features.
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Old 1st May 2021, 10:58   #20
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Default Re: Ford India's future plans | Will it stick around in India?

Unfortunately in India, for the foreign automotive companies selling mass market cars , the Maruti ethos works, not the Ford ethos of giving sturdier cars with better driving dynamics. Hyundai followed the former & that’s why it is in the second position in the sales chart. Hence I don’t see much chances of Ford being successful in India.
And with the strategy that Ford is adopting in their homeland USA (stopping to sell smaller cars due to low profit margin), one can anticipate that they would not be interested to continue selling & servicing cars in a huge country with a very meager market share. I really don’t think they would be ready to invest a huge sum of money to launch a fresh model here, and without that eventually the thin market share would become even thinner.
And moreover if really they would have intended to be in Indian market, they must have told more positive statements in media rather than simply saying that they are going to evaluate the investment plans in India, which surely does not provide a positive vibe!

Last edited by H0RSEPOWER : 1st May 2021 at 10:59.
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Old 1st May 2021, 11:14   #21
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Default Re: Ford India's future plans | Will it stick around in India?

I would put it like this.

-Their sub-4 meter products range will have no new additions. Only a few facelifts or juggling of features. If they want to sell global products, they would need to not abandon the existing line-up as it devalues the brand.

-One or two niche products through the CBU route would be introduced. Limited variants of these on offer.

-Thinning of sales and service, plant and R&D personnel in India.

-Running this set-up for 5 - 7 years on minimum loss basis so as to evaluate the future of the EV/next-gen market in India. Though, none of the foreign brands have shown intention of local EV manufacturing yet.

-A sliver of hope that they bring in the XUV5OO rival via localized/CKD manufacturing in 15-25 Lac segment with more variants to choose from compared to the >30 lac offerings of theirs.

-Decision to EXIT would be deferred by 2-3 years at least.

The affordable car line-up will be a drag. GM's exit was not that disheartening, as much as this one would be, for me.
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Old 1st May 2021, 11:16   #22
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Default Re: Ford India's future plans | Will it stick around in India?

They are likely to exit the mass market segments and be a fringe player in top end vehicles only.

See the recent direction that Ford will be taking:

We're entering a new phase in Europe. So John, absolutely, the focus in Europe is in commercial vehicles and passion specialty passenger cars.

In international markets it's the Ranger and derivatives of the Ranger. And in China, there's a-China like North America will have a more diverse product range than the other markets. But let's be really clear, we're doubling down on our iconic nameplates and building out a family of products...
Lincoln is profitable in China. I mean the growth rate in Lincoln in China and the profitability improvement as we localize to 90%, as John said, it's been very encouraging to us. So in China and North America, we'll focus on these really passionate segments, where we think we naturally do well. But the big change is not just improving the profitability by simplifying where we compete.
The big change in the company is going to be investing to an always on relationship with the customer. That is the real change at Ford.

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Old 1st May 2021, 12:53   #23
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Default Re: Ford India's future plans | Will it stick around in India?

Hello everyone,
I hope everyone doing okay and well in these times.

The topic being discussed is something thatís been going on in my head for quite a while as I have been contemplating to purchase a Ford.
Will they stay or not?
It doesnít look encouraging looking at their commitments to the Indian market as of now. The inclination is towards an exit or different ways discussed above.

Though I donít feel that they are looking to consolidate as I would agree with a lot of you saying that bringing in new products is the key which they havenít in quite some time.
I guess the last new product launched was the freestyle in 2018 which is around 3 years back. They have just been going in the way of facelifts and going by the number they really are not crowd pullers.

Their cars are definitely great. Looking at safety, driving dynamics, built quality more European like if not the same, however I donít think thatís enough to survive in our country.

Hope things turn for the better for them and us.
I am still hoping to purchase a Ford which I have kept on hold looking at the various things going on.
Keeping fingers crossed.
Couldnít vote, however if I could would have voted no.
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Old 1st May 2021, 15:30   #24
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Default Re: Ford India's future plans | Will it stick around in India?

Let's hope Ford does not wind up its India operations. Ford may have failed in going the JV route with Mahindra but why can't they consider Tata for the same. Even Tata had announced it wants partners for their passenger vehicles business. Maybe Ford doesn't want a JV with Tata because of the Fiat episode or because they still haven't got over the JLR deal. I feel that such a JV would be mutually beneficial since Tata needs better engines and transmissions and Ford could rely on Tata for India-specific chassis.
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Old 1st May 2021, 17:29   #25
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Default Re: Ford India's future plans | Will it stick around in India?

I have two inputs on this:

- get rid of the sub 4m rule and let go of the stubbornness with Make in India. India does not have their technical and mental maturity in manufacturing to enable global OEMs to replicate their global products with Indian suppliers.
- get rid of the nonsensical import taxes on CBUs and taxes on cars in general.

The only way India will become profitable for global OEMs is if volumes go up. Making car purchases difficult and unreasonably expensive is not the way to go. We’re headed back towards the 70s.

This might be a little biased towards the customer perspective and not the manufacturing sector. But how long will OEMs wait for manufacturing to change their ways and improve on quality and skills?

Last edited by yd_gli : 1st May 2021 at 17:30.
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Old 1st May 2021, 18:00   #26
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Default Re: Ford India's future plans | Will it stick around in India?

From someone who has been associated with Ford a long time, I do not see them staying in India as far as manufacturing goes. They will still have all their IT and back service operations though
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Old 1st May 2021, 19:16   #27
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Default Re: Ford India's future plans | Will it stick around in India?

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Last edited by GTO : 1st May 2021 at 19:44.
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Old 1st May 2021, 19:21   #28
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Default Re: Ford India's future plans | Will it stick around in India?

They will stick around, at least for the immediate future. The key is to introduce new and relevant products, aka compact SUVs / SUVs in India. Unfortunately, the market in India is skewered in favour of these products and Ford needs to refresh the Ecosport and also bring in mid size SUVs. The Ecosport is getting constant nips and tucks, with the latest being the additional features in the S version which is to be launched soon. They would not bother to do this if the plan was to exit the country in the immediate future.

They continue to have some solid products in their lineup, even if limited in number, which sell consistently, however, the portfolio would greatly benefit from newer or refreshed products offering even greater value to the customer.
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Old 1st May 2021, 20:09   #29
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Default Re: Ford India's future plans | Will it stick around in India?

There are two four letter words in the Indian automotive world - Fiat and Ford.

Both of them have been able to get everything wrong from the start.

So this is one guessing game youíre better off not attempting.

Itís easier to play Russian roulette.
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Old 1st May 2021, 20:54   #30
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Default Re: Ford India's future plans | Will it stick around in India?

Originally Posted by Turbanator View Post
When Ford launched Endeavour in 2016, they did a mistake by targeting Fortuner and kept it at 30 lac or so. They should have priced it at least 40 lac at that time and am more than sure, it still would have sold. Instead of selling at 30 lac with a wait list of couple of months, they could have just one high end variant and ensured a lot of these are available. They could have always launched the lower model like trend at lower prices at later date.

Companies like Toyota understand this and have always priced the products that made profits. It’s a different matter that they got wrongly with Liva twins and lost money.
In my opinion, Endeavour at a premium to Fortuner would have been dead on arrival even if Ford tried to market Endeavour a segment above Fortuner. They had priced 2012 Fiesta at a premium over rivals and then no amount of damage control could save the product. Ford is in no position to dictate prices like Toyota, they simply could never achieve that kind of following after Ikon especially because of so many discontinued models which damaged the trust in the brand. Ford stopped being a premium brand long back and it was usually associated with high maintenance cost and unreliable part availability which they have worked upon although a bit too late and their service centre quality is still hit or miss. To try to be a premium brand would have made things worse for Endeavour. Mahindra tried to enter the segment with Alturas but the market didn't find it reasonable to spend 30+ on a Mahindra just like market doesn't believe Endeavour and Fortuner belong to different segments and that Endeavour deserves higher price than Fortuner.

When it comes to automobiles, initial wrong pricing is a blunder and subsequent price revisions to increase sales make things worse. No customer wants to see the price of the model going down once he/she has bought it as it hits the resale value in the market. Most of the sales Ford has achieved with Endeavour is due to the price gap with Fortuner, there are very few enthusiasts who buy Endeavour because of superior ride quality and feature list. Not bringing bi-turbo to India might also be because of keeping this price gap intact. Toyota has given them the chance to bring in bi-turbo as a higher variant by shooting up Fortuner prices, which of course depends on Ford's plans of continuing in India.

I believe the only way forward for Ford is to introduce game-changing confidence measures like 10-year warranty plans (at least on engine/gearbox) like Kia/Hyundai did in USA to gain consumer trust, attractive service plans, service centre overhaul and buyback offers similar to how MG tried to gain trust. They do not have bad models, they have trust issues. People believe it's safer to buy Brezza over Ecosport, Fortuner over Endeavour not because they are superior products but because Maruti and Toyota have gained trust which Ford could not. Even the higher-priced Creta has set sales on fire (10000+) because people have confidence in Hyundai. As many people suggested, they can launch class-leading vehicles but as long as they don't gain trust - each and every model will flop especially with competition heating up in every segment.

Last edited by Technic90 : 1st May 2021 at 21:03.
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