Mumbai: Auto maker Ford India Pvt. Ltd, the local arm of Ford Motor Co., is considering entering the fast-growing Indian commercial vehicles segment, president and managing director Michael Boneham said.
Commercial vehicles can complement Ford’s plans of being a volume player in India, Boneham told Mint on the sidelines of the launch of the firm’s small car, Figo, in Mumbai.
Ford is studying the Indian market and “will be firming up the plans by the end of the current year”, he added.
The company will look at bringing out highly utilitarian sub-5 tonne pickup trucks from its Chennai facility, said Nigel E. Wark, executive director, marketing sales and service, Ford India.
The facility has a capacity to make 200,000 passenger cars and 250,000 engines every year.
Boneham said that with a high import duty of 107%, it did not make economic sense for Ford to import pickups from Thailand.
India’s light commercial vehicles market has been growing in double digits, driven by a rising need for vehicles that can transport people and goods on shorter and congested routes.
In the 10 months ended January, the segment, which is dominated by Tata Motors Ltd’s sub-1 tonne Ace, grew 30% to 406,019 units.
Ford’s rival General Motors India Pvt. Ltd (GM) recently entered a collaboration with Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. to develop and manufacture light commercial vehicles in the passenger and goods carrier segment.
GM plans to produce the vehicles for Indian and exports markets from its facilities at Talegaon near Pune and Halol in Gujarat.
Global auto makers are tapping into India’s commercial vehicles segment encouraged by its growth potential, said Pankaj Chadha, director of automotive practice at consultancy Ernst and Young.
“It makes strategic sense for companies like General Motors and Ford to get into the segment for an optimum utilization of the capacities,” he added.