New Delhi: Ford Motor Co.’s local unit has emerged as the largest exporter of cars from India in the quarter to June, wresting the crown from Hyundai Motor India Ltd, data provided by Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (Siam) shows.
Ford India has now outpaced Hyundai for three consecutive months in shipping out vehicles, and during the June quarter, it led Hyundai by 15,813 units. During the period, Ford’s exports rose 54% to 48,971 units from a year-ago period. That compares with 33,158 units exported by Hyundai, a decline of 16.65% from the year earlier, the data shows. Exports of passenger vehicles from India grew 13.8% to 180,000 units.
To be sure, Ford did surpass Hyundai in shipping out vehicles in the months of December and August last year. But, exports numbers for the June quarter highlights a clear trend where Ford is leading on a cumulative basis for the first time. At Ford, exports are only going to grow from here.
“The recent commencement of exports of Ford KA+ (a longer version of its compact sedan Aspire) to Europe from our Sanand plant and the upcoming exports of Ford EcoSport to the US from Chennai further strengthens our commitment," Anurag Mehrotra, managing director of Ford India, said in an email.
“In our commitment to building a sustainable, profitable business in India as an important market, exports of world class quality products from India will continue to play an important role," Mehrotra added.
Hyundai India did not respond to an email seeking comments for the story.
Of late, Hyundai has softened its focus on exports, largely to meet domestic demand, and has held back from adding additional capacity in the form of building its second greenfield factory in the country.
What is surprising, though, is that despite this, Hyundai’s domestic performance has been below par. Its sales in India in April-June were flat at 124,000 units compared to the previous year, even as competitors like market leader Maruti Suzuki India Ltd grew at 14% in the same period. Hyundai, however, is expected to receive a boost in sales with the launch of its next-generation Verna sedan, which may be rolled out in the September quarter.
Better shipments have come as a shot in the arm for the Indian unit of Ford. The Detroit-based company is facing probing questions by investors over its decision to continue operations in India, especially in the wake of its arch rival General Motors Co.’s decision to pull out of the world’s fastest growing passenger vehicle market.
For now, Ford will continue to build its business in India, according to people in the know of the matter who did not want to be named, even as its operations will be closely watched by Jim Hackett-led management.
In May, Bill Ford-led board of Ford Motor removed Mark Fields from the post of the company’s chief executive and handed over charge to Hackett who is known for turning around companies such as furniture maker Steelcase.
Ford, along with Volkswagen India Pvt. Ltd, Nissan India Pvt. Ltd and General Motors India Pvt. Ltd, has tweaked its strategy to focus on exports to make its India business operationally sustainable.
Cheap labour and raw material costs offer better returns on export of vehicles, especially to countries where car purchasing power is higher. Hyundai exports to more than 90 countries in regions such as the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Latin America.