Ford Motor Company has announced an investment of US $72 or Rs 324 crore to expand its engine plant in Chennai. The expansion, when complete by mid-2012, will increase the engine production capacity from 250,000 to 330,000 units per year. The expansion of diesel engine production capacity will bring Ford’s total investment in India to more than US$ 1 billion.
The new investment is part of Ford India’s transformation into a major global export and manufacturing hub – 1.6 TiVCT, 1.4 HC and Duratorq engines will be exported from the country. In March, plant managers and employees in Chennai celebrated the 100,000th engine produced at the factory – a milestone achieved in just 14 months.
The plant is the first Ford facility to feature single flexible production line manufacturing petrol and diesel engines. It is also the first Ford plant to run a flexible crank shaft production line producing crank shafts for petrol and diesel engines.
Today, the plant produces five Duratec petrol engine variants and one Duratorq diesel engine variant for Ford vehicles. It is also gearing up to produce powertrains for Ford’s all-new global Fiesta sedan, when it is launched in India later this year.
“This investment reinforces the importance of our Chennai plant and Ford’s continued expansion in India,” said Michael Boneham, president and managing director of Ford India. “This expansion will allow us to provide more technologically advanced and fuel-efficient engines to our customers in India and in markets around the world where we export Chennai-built vehicles.”
“The new investment also further supports our plan to introduce eight new global Ford vehicles in India by 2015,” Boneham added. “When the expansion is finished, a third production shift will be added at the engine assembly plant, creating more than 300 new direct jobs.”
Since June 2010, more than 4,000 India-built 1.4L and 1.6L petrol engines have been exported to Thailand every month. Diesel engines have also been exported to South Africa since 2008 and Ford plans to export India-built petrol and diesel powertrains to more markets in the near future.