Indian Autos Blog got an early opportunity yesterday to interact with Ford's newly appointed Managing Director Mr. Joginder Singh and his predecessor Mr. Michael Boneham in Chennai.
There was no agenda to the meeting, and hence no tension was sensed inside the hall. This led the two gentlemen to loosen up and put forth thoughts and ideas to the select group of media representatives quite informally.
Joginder Singh -
I've worked with Michael (Boneham) over the past 12 months, I have big shoes to fill. The base plan going forward will be the same - we have to launch 8 products by mid-decade. Our customer touch points will have to be increased to 500 by that time. Figo was a game changer, and the EcoSport is expected to be even more transformational. This mini urban SUV will prove once more that we give what the customers want.
My job is not only to implement the One Ford strategy, but implement it in the Indian market conditions. Exponential growth is around the corner, our big story is the EcoSport next year. The SUV segment is growing very strongly.
I'm impressed with India's talent pool. For instance, the 'child part' strategy is an Indian innovation. We're now exporting this idea into global markets and platforms.
Michael Boneham -
I made a commitment to my youngest son that I would return home and spend more time with him. The past 5.5 years has been a very long journey and I'm honoring a personal commitment. Joginder Singh has been running our business services over the last 12 months in Chennai.
A few years ago, Ford was a niche player with 30,000 units annual production capacity. This year it is about 130,000 including exports. We manufacture 250,000 engines a year. The interest rates on automobiles is having a big impact on our business.
I've been working in Ford for 28 years and I've never seen 7 plants crop up in under 3 years. These plants are in China and India, and this hasn't happened in any region of world since the 1940s. 70% of Ford's growth over the next 10 years will come from the Asia Pacific and African regions.
We'll become a volume player when we have 4.4 lakh units annual capacity - this is when the Sanand plant (in Gujarat) comes on stream. You need to have high levels of localization and hit the price points to be a volume player.