Ford Motor Company would invest around Rs. 4000-5000 Crores to setup a Research & Development centre in Chennai, India. It is the American automajor's second big investment in India as the company recently invested billions of dollars in Sanand, Gujrat production plant. This development comes 10 months after its Global CEO Mark Fields promised Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi that he will do his bit for the government's Make in India campaign.
In an interview with ET recently, Fields had expressed interest in increasing the product development capability in the country. It is being said that the new Indian product development centre would be one of the biggest in the Asia-Pacific region. It would be linked with the Ford's Global Product Development Ecosystem, and Indian engineers would also be able to offer their inputs for products not only meant for India but for global markets too. "There's a tremendous engineering talent here, and we want to tap into that and grow our product development capability here methodically over a period of time," Mark Fields had said. With this fresh investment, Ford India will be increasing its investment in the country by almost 50% of its cumulative investment so far.
When contacted, a Ford India spokesperson said, "As for future projects and investment, we have nothing to announce." It has been learnt that the announcement on the Chennai R&D centre is likely to be made in the second half of 2015, while the agreement with the Tamil Nadu government is expected to be signed in the next few months. People close to the company said the development of new B500 project, which will spawn a new mid-size segment sedan to take on the Honda City somewhere around 2018, will be the first project on which Indian R&D base will play an important design, development and engineering role. The B500 project may eventually also spawn out an MPV in the future.