The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Ford hopes to hit profit track next year

New Delhi, Oct. 14: Ford India Ltd , the local arm of Ford Motor Company, expects to become profitable by next year, helped by vehicle and parts exports to countries such as South Africa and China.

The local arm of the world’s second-biggest car maker, which launched the 2.5-litre Endeavour — a sports utility vehicle with a sticker price of Rs 12.9 lakh — today, is also counting on exports to wipe out its cumulative losses by 2008.

David Friedman, managing director and president of the Indian unit, said the sports utility vehicle has been especially designed for the Asian market.

Endeavour powered by a 110 bhp diesel engine will initially have a localisation content of 20 per cent. The engine and transmission units will be imported from the Thailand manufacturing facilities.

“We expect to sell 150 units a month. At this level it makes business sense to import but as volumes grow we would increase the localisation content,” Friedman said.

Company sources said Ford, which has invested Rs 1,700 crore in its factory near Chennai, subsequently plans to manufacture the model here. Friedman also said the Indian SUV market has seen a growth of 50 per cent in the last one year.

Endeavour will compete with General Motor’s Forester priced between Rs 16 lakh and Rs 17 lakh, Suzuki’s Grand Vitara at Rs 15 lakh and the locally manufactured Tata Safari which costs around Rs 8-9 lakh. Both Forester and Vitara are imported as fully-built units.

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. Currently, it exports completely knocked down kits of the Ikon model to South Africa, Brazil and Mexico.

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