Ford India's global suppliers come calling on Sanand

Sanand, a town in Gujarat whose claim to fame was the quick commissioning of Tata Motors's Nano factory, is being developed as an automotive hub. Apart from Tata Motors and its vendors, the other major car maker setting shop at Sanand is Ford Motor Company, also known as FoMoCo. Ford India has begun constructing its 1 Billion USD worth production facility at Sanand. 

The Ford factory, spread across 460 acres in Sanand, will be ready next year, after which it will be able to churn out 240,000 cars and 270,000 engines, each year. The factory will employ a 5,000 strong workforce and Ford has already begun recruiting ITI certificate holders for the new plant.

Generally, big automakers encourage vendors to set shop around the main car/two wheeler factory to allow for quick delivery of autoparts and to streamline production by closely integrating OEM-Vendor operations.  A similar strategy is being followed by Ford India, with global vendors such as Visteon Corporation, Magna International, Getrag Systems and Motherson Sumi, setting shop around the Ford factory at Sanand.

According to a report on BusinessStandard, 15 vendors have occupied about 150 acres of land around Ford's Sanand factory. With Ford India giving the vendors a mid-2014 deadline for beginning parts supply, the first batch of Ford cars from Sanand is expected to roll out from early 2015.

The next generation Figo hatchback, due for an early 2014 launch in Brazil, will be the first car to roll out of Ford's Sanand factory. The project, code-named B562, will play host to both a hatchback as well as a compact sedan. While the B562 hatchback is expected to replace the current Ford Figo, the compact sedan will form the replacement to the Ford Classic (Last generation Fiesta sedan). 

Once the Sanand factory is on stream, Ford India will be able to produce 440,000 cars and 670,000 engines, each year, from its two factories at Chennai and Sanand. A major chunk of this production is expected to be headed to export markets given the fact that Ford is looking to developing India as its major export hub from Asia, along with Thailand.

Ford has posted a record first-half profit of 4.77 Billion USD from its home operations in the United States and strong growth from the US and Asian markets have helped Ford tide over its loss making European operations. Although Ford is yet to turn out a profit in India, factors such as the country's long term growth potential, the strong showing of products such as the Figo and the EcoSport, and the low cost-high quality manufacturing edge that India delivers, have given the American car maker enough reasons to invest big in the India story. 

Image courtesy MukeshAssociates



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