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November 26, 2006


Ford India Fiesta

Photo: Ford Motor Company Chairman and CEO Bill Ford (left) joins Arvind Mathew, managing director and president of Ford India, for the debut of the all-new Ford Fiesta in New Delhi.

DEARBORN, Nov. 2006 -- India is on the cusp of enormous economic growth and Ford India is well positioned to capitalize on it, said Arvind Mathew, Ford India president and managing director, in a presentation to employees in Dearborn earlier this year.

Increasing affluence and mobility and a developing infrastructure are driving India's auto industry growth.

India is a "small car" market and Ford India's hottest selling cars are the entry-level Ikon and the upscale Fiesta. The Ikon is marketed to tech-savvy young professionals who are seeking to buy their first car.

"It is an exciting time to do business in India," Mathew said. "The country has one of the largest populations in the world and a massive rising middle class of young professionals for whom owning a car is within reach. The possibilities for growth are astounding."

Ford India

Photo: Ford Motor Company Chairman and CEO Bill Ford tours the company's manufacturing facility in Maraimalai Nagar, near Chennai, India.

Industry experts recognize India is one of the key "BRIC" economies driving growth in the automotive sector along with Brazil, Russia and China. According to CSM Worldwide, an auto-industry research firm, vehicle production in India is expected to exceed 1.8 million in 2007, nearly double the output in 2003 and quadruple the output of 10 years ago.

"Demand will remain strong in mature markets like the U.S. and Japan, but nowhere near as strong as the double-digit growth in countries like India," said Maseki Taketani, a director of CSM Worldwide. "Automakers must succeed in India to remain viable in the global market place."

Ford India's focus on customer service and fuel-efficient mid-size cars like the entry-level Ikon and the upscale Fiesta has the company poised for success in the burgeoning market.

"We saw 154 percent growth in sales in September 2006 and 142 percent growth in October," said Scott McCormack, Ford India vice president of Marketing, Sales & Service. "Almost 95 percent of vehicles are financed in India, in part because the country has very high per capita income growth. The perception that you own your car forever is diminishing and the period of ownership is shortening."

With rapid urbanization underway and an increasing number of consumers eager to buy a car, India promises to take center stage alongside economic juggernaut China over the next 10 years.

"India's time has arrived," McCormack said. "Indians believe in themselves and they're confident they'll be a world leader."

This year's India Customer Satisfaction Index Study by J.D. Power Asia Pacific ranked Ford second only to dominant domestic automaker Maruti Suzuki thanks in large part to the success of Ford's Quality Care service program at dealerships.

"The program helps dealers deliver consistent service," said Uma Umashankar, Ford India general manager, Customer Service Organization (CSO). "The program is a source of pride for participating dealers and we're working to implement the program throughout our dealer body. StumbleUpon reddit Facebook Google Plus Tweet This Seed This on Newsvine

Edited & Posted by the Editor | 3:11 PM | Link to this Post

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