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Ford India raises the bar

Ford India Ltd, a subsidiary of Ford Motor Co of the U.S, is basking in the fantastic response its new mid-sized sedan Ikon has received

Ford India Ltd, a subsidiary of Ford Motor Co of the U.S, is basking in the fantastic response its new mid-sized sedan Ikon has received. Speaking at a news conference to announce a tie-up with Indian financial services firm ICICI Ltd, Phil Spender, president and managing director of Ford India, said that the company has raised its sales target for calendar 2000 riding on the success of its Ikon model.

The company hopes to sell between 22,500-23,000 cars during the year compared with a target of 21,500 that it set itself late last year when the Ikon was launched. Ford has invested about Rs17 billion so far in India and has set up a manufacturing unit on the outskirts of Chennai where it makes the Ikon model.

Spender said Ford was in the process of increasing its production in India to about 100 cars a day from 80 now and hoped to have profitable operations from the current year itself. He also said that Ford estimates the overall car market to slow down to between 12 per cent and 15 per cent.

However, the mid-sized cars market to have a demand of about 80,000 units this year and would grow faster because of the increasing activity among the various players in the segment.

Ford currently has waiting lists of between six and eight weeks for deliveries. Which means there is plenty of pent-up demand here at the moment. Spender said that he has satisfied with the growing brand equity of Ikon and its volumes are going to be "bit more robust" than what the company expected.

Talking about its tie-up with ICICI Ltd, he said that the tie-up would allow expatriate Indians to buy cars through the Internet to be delivered in India.

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