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Ford Lays Cornerstone of $1 Bil New Indian Plant

Confident despite sales slowdown.

by on Mar.23, 2012

Ford begins construction at its new $1 bil plant in Sanand, India.

Despite signs of a slowdown in the once-booming market, Ford this week laid the cornerstone of what will be a new $1 billion assembly plant in India.

It’s a critical part of the U.S. makers plans to become a major player in emerging markets – where it has lagged behind key competitors such as Volkswagen and General Motors.  Among other things, Ford plans to launch new products in India by the middle of the decade to appeal to the country’s fast-growing and increasingly mobile middle-class.

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“We are committed to significantly increasing our manufacturing output and aggressively expanding our business in India,” Michael Boneham, Ford India’s managing director, said in a statement.

The question is whether Ford’s investment is ill-timed.  India – one of the so-called BRIC markets, along with Brazil, Russia and China – has shown unexpected weakness in new car demand lately, some analysts fretting that the bloom is off the automotive rose after steady, double-digit growth.

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India Ready to Overtake Japan in Car Sales

But can infrastructure keep up?

by on Mar.15, 2012

Hoping to tap into the booming Indian market, Ford recently went to Delhi to reveal the new Figo.

Already humbled by years of economic stagnation and last year’s devastating earthquake and tsunami, Japan’s continuing decline as one of the world’s leading auto markets is likely to be taken down another peg.

A new study by IHS Automotive predicts that sales in India will reach 4.88 million by 2016, which would move that emerging nation past Japan, which the consulting firm forecasts will see automotive sales of just 4.51 million that year.

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Japanese auto sales have been running at barely half their peak rate during the Asian nation’s bubble economy and show little sign of recovery.  In fact, IHS expects the market’s sales to again taper off to just 4.25 million by 2020.  Japan recorded 4.87 million new vehicle sales in 2010 but saw that number dip to 4.13 million the following year, much of that due to lost production and other problems caused by the March 2011 natural disaster.

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