Ford Motor Co. opened a new factory in western India, more than doubling its capacity in the country as it makes a billion-dollar bet that Indian exports can power its push to sell more affordable vehicles around the world. This initiative is said to be an extension of Government of India’s flagship project ‘Make in India’.
Ford’s new factory in Sanand, Gujarat, will be one of the first foreign facilities built in Asia’s third-largest economy mainly to make cars for export. Ford said it plans to use the factor which costs $1 billion to build to triple the number of cars it exports out of India.
“Together we are delivering Prime Minister’s Modi vision for India,” Mark Fields, chief executive of Ford, said at the launch event. “We are happy to be making in India for India and for the world.”
Other than textiles, jewelry, some commodities and, of course, outsourcing services, India has struggled to mimic the success of export powerhouses like Japan, South Korea and China. Automobile and auto-parts exports, however, are areas where it is increasingly showing that it may have a competitive advantage.
First attracted to India by its massive and largely untapped local market, Ford and other foreign players are increasingly using the country as an export hub.
Companies in India have seen their passenger-car exports jump more than 60% in the last five years to a total of more than 620,000 passenger vehicles in 2014. China trailed with 533,000 auto exports last year. Other countries like Japan, Korea and even Thailand exported more last year, but India is expected to start catching up.