In the race to acquire the official task of supplying the hugely popular, EcoSport SUV to the North American markets, it seems that Ford’s Thailand unit has beaten the Indian unit to the punch. The U.S-based automaker plans to roll out the EcoSport urban crossover in the North American market in the first half of 2016 and Ford India was hoping to be tasked with shipping around 55,000-70,000 units of the facelifted model to the greener pastures. However, according to new reports, it is understood that Ford Motors is likely to make its Thai unit responsible for supplying the compact SUV to the North American markets, including the US and Canada.
The reason for the said decision is understood to have stemmed from the fact that Ford Motor wants better capacity utilisation at its Thailand plant and EcoSport volumes will help in achieving that. Also, the noise, vibrations and harshness levels of cars produced in Thailand are deemed to be better than those made in India, which is seen as a crucial factor when selling vehicles in the demanding markets of North America.
Ford India is already a major export hub with shipping out 35 per cent of the more than 1.3 lakh vehicles that the unit produces in India - with Europe being the main destination for India-made Ford vehicles. A lucrative order to export vehicles to North America would have helped the local unit improve capacity utilisation at its Chennai plan and also would have helped the firm in achieving break-even sooner than expected.
Looking on the bright side, one of the Ford officials in the know remarked, “But then it is good news for the waiting Indian customers, who are already facing a waiting period of 5-6 months. The idea is clear, instead of shipping more out of the country, Ford India would like to satiate the demand of Indian customers first.”