Ford India's revenues are expected to cross the Rs 1,000-crore mark while it is on target to post net profit in what is turning out to be its best year since it set up its operations in the country in 1999.
"We should do more than Rs 1,000 crore this fiscal, which is 30 per cent growth over last year," Ford India Managing Director, Mr David Friedman, told Business Line.
Terming 2004-05, as Ford's `best year yet' in India, Mr Friedman said the volumes have grown 30 per cent over the previous year. He said 2004 saw record sales of Ikon and its utility vehicle, Endeavour. "We are already cash flow positive and we have a full-fledged factory in place now," he said.
Ford is also expected to launch a new vehicle this year, probably in the mid-size segment, though Mr Friedman did not confirm the news. "Keep watching this space," he said. For 2004, Ford sold a total of 24,536 units of Ikon, about 32 per cent more than last year while it sold 2,240 Endeavours during the same period. Fusion sold about 330 units in December, its first month of sales and in the first two months of 2005, it has sold about 650 units. The current capacity of the Ford plant near Chennai is about 50,000 units per year.
Mr Friedman said the company was extremely happy with the sales of Fusion. "The sales are as per our expectations," Mr Friedman said. The company expects sales to touch about a 1,000 units per month sooner than expected. It sells about less than half of that currently.
He said Fusion was creating a new segment in the market. "Fusion's positioning is unique. It is a lifestyle kind of vehicle and combines the functionality of an utility vehicle," he said.
He said currently there were no plans to export Fusion because the focus was on domestic sales. "But if we can get it right for India, we can get it right for other emerging markets as well," he said. Mr Friedman said the country's passenger car market was going through further segmentation where personal needs of a customer was taking precedence over price and the size of the car.
"There are two things which are happening in the industry. Firstly, the market is growing in absolute terms and is shifting in terms of segmentation. The lines are blurring," he said. This was largely because of the more number of models hitting the market.
He said certain models may not sell heavily but they cater to the specific needs of the customer. "There is a car for every need. There is a focus on features and not on the size of the car," Mr Friedman said.