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After Ikon, Fusion fires up Ford profit hopes

New Delhi, April 14: Ford India, the Indian subsidiary of the world’s second largest auto maker Ford Motor Company, plans to introduce its multi-activity vehicle Fusion as part of the firm’s effort to push sales and drive profits.

The new model will be locally produced at the Chennai factory and is a bloated version of the Ikon.

The Ikon, a sedan, is produced by the Indian subsidiary, which is 85 per cent owned by Michigan-based Ford. The local unit also offers the larger Mondeo sedan for the domestic market but that is imported as a completely built unit.

“The Fusion would be built on the Ikon platform and would be available in two petrol and one diesel variant,” sources said, adding it would cost between Rs 7-8 lakh.

One of the two petrol variants will have a power output of 68 BHP with a lower 1.3-litre engine capacity while the other will have a higher 1.6-litre petrol engine with 91 BHP output.

The diesel variant would provide the same power output of 91 BHP but sport a higher engine capacity of 1.8 litres.

“The model would have the driving attributes of a hatchback and the height and ruggedness of a sports utility vehicle,” added sources.

The automaker, which has invested around Rs 1,700 crore for setting up a factory near Chennai, is relying on this model and exports to spur sales and drive profits.

“By 2004, we should become profitable,” a company official said. “Two-third of the sales would come from exports...the key to capacity utilisation and profitability of our operations.”

The automaker, which has been able to attain 90 per cent localisation of its automobiles manufactured in the country, has entered into an agreement with Hindustan Motors. “Localisation is the key which help cut costs,” the official said.

Hindustan Motors, which manufactures the Rocam engines for 1.3 litre and 1.6 litre Ikon cars, will soon make gear boxes for other products under a pact signed with Ford.

Ford India also exports completely knocked down kits of the Ikon model to South Africa, Brazil and Mexico. The automaker, along with Hyundai Motor Co and other automakers, is exporting cars and parts to make their Indian units viable as vehicle sales in Asia’s third largest country grew by around 6 per cent in the fiscal ended March 31.

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