Ford building $1bn manufacturing complex in India

NEW DELHI, September 6, 2011 (AFP) – US auto giant Ford has started construction on a $1 billion manufacturing and engineering complex in India as it bets on the country to help drive global growth, a company statement said Tuesday. The Detroit firm still has a long way to go to make the region a significant revenue generator. Ford is a comparative minnow in China and India with only three percent of the markets — the two fastest-growing globally. The new manufacturing facilities in Sanand in the western state of Gujarat will create 5,000 jobs, and will be able initially to produce 240,000 vehicles and 270,000 engines a year, Ford said.

The first vehicles and engines are due to come off the line in 2014.

The complex highlights the automaker’s plan “to aggressively grow the Ford brand in India,” said Ford India president Michael Boneham.

The new manufacturing facilities are targeted at helping Ford reach its goal of increasing worldwide sales by nearly 50 percent by the middle of the decade to eight million vehicles a year.

“We are aggressively expanding in markets around the world that have the most growth potential,” said Joe Hinrichs, president of Ford Asia Pacific and Africa.

Ford has made severa