Chennai: Aiming to be a strong player in the Indian automobile market, US auto major Ford said its plan to introduce eight new products by middle of this decade was "on track", with the mini-urban SUV "EcoSport" to be unveiled in 2013 being part of it.
"Though the leaders have changed, base plan has not changed. We anounced that eight new products will be introduced around the middle of the decade. We are well on track (towards it)", Jogindar Singh, who will take charge as the new President and Managing Director of Ford India from December 1, told reporters.
Singh will replace Michael Boneham, who was heading the Indian subsidiary of Ford for the last five years. He said the launch of company's compact hatchback "Figo had been a "gamechanger" for the company. "We are on track (for launching our products) and proof of that is the EcoSport which we expect it to be another gamechanger."
Singh said the mini-sub four metre urban SUV would be launched from the company's Maraimalai Nagar plant next year. "We have invited Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa for launching it and she has graciously accepted it," he said.
Stating that Asia-Pacific region is poised for exponential growth, Singh said the company expects 70 per cent of business would be contributed from this region.
"My responsibility is to bring the best of Ford Motor Company to Ford India," he said, adding, most of the eight products for launch would be in the small car segment. He said the company's Sanand facility in Gujarat was "on track" and expected to commence operation by 2014.
Singh said Boneham, who was also present at the event, had created a "strong foundation" for Ford and his challenge was to fill the "big shoes". "We have to continue to grow at a very fast rate," he said.
As part of expanding Ford's presence in India, Singh said they planned to double touch points to 250 within one year. "The plan is to double the touchpoints to 500 this decade. We want to go closer to customers in Tier II and III (locations)," he said, adding that 40 per cent of growth comes from such areas.
Boneham said the "interest rates" were still higher and was having a significant impact on business. Ford India reported a marginal increase in total sales at 10,948 units in Oct 2012. The company sold 10,906 units in the same month last year.