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Ford mulls 24-hour production shift to meet EcoSport demand

Snapshot: Ford India hopes to produce 750 to 800 units of EcoSport a day by October 2014.

The Indian automobile industry may just be starting to climb out of the slump period that had plagued it since the last two years. However, Ford India seems to be in an overdrive already when it comes to its EcoSport compact crossover. For the first time in Ford’s 17 year old history in the country, the automaker will operate its production plant in Chennai for full 24 hours to meet local as well as overseas demand for the hugely popular EcoSport.

Ford plans to produce 1,60,000 units in 2014 by operating the plant in three shifts. The plan is to take that number to up to 2,00,000 cars with vendor’s support. Ford India with its new production strategy will thus join its South Korean rival Hyundai, which also operates in Chennai in a total of three shifts. Currently, Ford India makes about 350 units of EcoSport a day and hopes to take that number to unto 450 units per day by June 2014. By October, the plant will produce 750 to 800 units a day to meet the demand from Europe and Japan. 

The move comes at a time when block closures have become a norm due to a declining market. A Ford India spokeswoman said the company continues to evaluate opportunities to remove bottlenecks for reducing the waiting period. “Given the dynamic and challenging times across the industry and low consumer sentiment, we continue to monitor the situation and will adjust our production to match the demand for our products. We do not comment on specific production volumes," the spokeswoman said. 

After the launch of EcoSport at an aggressive price, Ford India garnered massive bookings of over 60,000 units; the company delivered 35,000 units by January. While it is good news for the company, its inability to deliver more vehicles is leading to a lot of frustration amount the waiting customers.

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