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Home arrow Automotive arrow Production of Figo begins at Ford's newly expanded facilities in Chennai
Production of Figo begins at Ford's newly expanded facilities in Chennai Print E-mail
Written by Ravi   
Tuesday, 09 February 2010
Chennai: The first production model of the new Figo was driven off the assembly line at Ford's newly expanded facilities in Chennai on Friday. The new engine facility that manufactures the exclusive 1.2L petrol engine for Figo was also inaugurated. With this the new car production capacity is up to 200,000 units annually - doubling vehicle production at the facility.

Relying more on Indian partners, 85 percent of the new Figo is expected to be locally contented. More than 700 new employees have been hired by Ford India at the expanded assembly and engine manufacturing facility in the past 12 months.

Once full line capacity is reached, the manufacturing centre is expected to provide additional employment.

While Figo will be manufactured primarily for Indian consumers initially, the new model also will be exported to other countries including South Africa, as early as middle of 2010.

Designed and engineered for the Indian market and for export, the new Figo is based on a proven global small car architecture.  The vehicle will be equipped with a standard 1.2L petrol engine developed exclusively for the India market.

Both the car assembly and engine manufacturing facilities in Chennai have undergone a major expansion to establish Chennai as a major hub for the entire APA region.  The facilities serve as the latest examples of Ford's global manufacturing processes and have incorporated several new technologies for Ford and India. Created with a "best-in-class" approach, it has been benchmarked against other competitive facilities globally, as well as current volume manufacturers in the Indian market.

The new, 40,000 square metre flexible engine line, also part of Ford's nearly $500 million (USD) commitment over the past two years in the facility, will build both diesel and petrol engines side-by-side for the new model.  Four cylinder engines in varying displacements up to 1.6 litres also will be produced for export at the Chennai facility.

In the body and paint shop and assembly line, sixty six robots have been added to ensure higher quality and a new Three-Step-Wet -Solids paint process applies a smooth, glossy finish without oven curing between coats.  A first for India, the new process is environmentally-friendly and reduces volatile organic compounds by 20 percent.

"Figo is a great example of the role Ford will play in the future of India," Shri. Karunanidi said. The "Sub B" car category where Figo will be competing comprises more than 70 percent of India's total new car sales.  Figo is the sixth new Ford model that the automaker has introduced to Indian consumers.

"We are totally committed to growing the India market under our 'ONE Ford' plan and Figo is an excellent example of utilizing our global assets and expertise to meet the demands of customers here and in future markets," said Raj Nair, Ford vice president of operations, Asia Pacific and Africa.

"This car is set to transform Ford from a niche player in India to vehicle for the masses," Nair added.

The Job 1 ceremony was attended by Chief Minister Karunanidi and Deputy Chief Minister Dr. M K Stalin, Michael Boneham, president and managing director, Ford India; Raj Nair, Ford vice president of operations, Asia Pacific and Africa; Sandip Sanyal, Ford executive director of operations for India and nearly three thousand employees of the newly expanded facilities.  Tom Chackalackal, Ford India's vice president, manufacturing - vehicle operations, drove the first Figo off the line.

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