Ford’s Sensational Comeback to India: Why Ford Left India, Why They’re Back, and the Game-Changing Cars Coming Your Way!

Why Ford Left India, Why They’re Back? – In 2006, Opel left India. Then, Chevrolet in 2017. Fiat in 2019. And in 2020, Mitsubishi and Ford stopped making cars in India. Since then, we have observed that the car companies that left India have never returned to the Indian market.

But this trend is about to change. Because one of the biggest companies that left India is coming back. Yes, Ford is coming back.

Introduction -Ford India comeback

Ford, the American automotive giant, is reportedly making a comeback into India’s automotive industry after leaving the country in 2020. The company has been a major player in the Indian market, having previously exited from major manufacturers like Opel, Chevrolet, Fiat, Mitsubishi, and Ford.

We know that because of the patent filing of their new Ford Endeavour in the Indian market. Moreover, Ford Motor Company has listed many job openings for their Chennai-based plant in the last three or four days. It includes various engineering posts as well as posts for management and accounting departments.

Not just that, Autocar India has said that their internal sources have confirmed that this news is true. It is believed that we might see the Ford Endeavour on Indian roads this year. This is great news. Personally, I am happy with this news.

Ford's Sensational Comeback to India: Why Ford Left India, Why They're Back

But this news raises some questions. For example,

Q1.If they wanted to return after three years, then why did Ford leave India in the first place?

Q2. And now that they are coming back, will they be successful in India?

Q3. Which cars should Ford bring to India other than Endeavour so that they can be successful in the market?

You’ll get the answer to all these questions in this article. So read this blog post till the end without skipping anything. Why Ford Left India.

Before looking at why Ford returned to India, we need to look at why they left. Because both of these things are linked.

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Why Ford Left India?

There are some reasons why Ford failed in India. The first one is Ford India’s product planning.appeared to be confusing.

For example, in the mid-2010s, demand in the SUV market was rising. But Ford only had one mass-market SUV, and that was the Ecosport.Instead of bringing rivals for Creta and XUV 500Ford focused on smaller cars. Which were Figo and Aspire. And it appeared that Ford was trying to compete with Maruti.

The second reason is Ford’s inability to upgrade its cars on time, particularly the Ecosport, which was their best-selling car for a long time. This led to a drop in annual sales, with Ford’s annual sales only around 66,500 cars in 2020. This is significantly lower than Renault’s sales of 80,000 cars in 2020 and Honda’s 89,000 in 2021.

The real reason for Ford’s departure from India was uncontrolled expenses, specifically the Sanand plant. When Ford launched Figo in 2012, they were excited about the potential growth of the Indian market, which could reach 7 million cars. They decided to build a massive plant in India, sanctioning a budget of ₹1 billion. The plant had a 9 Gale Force rating, which meant it could withstand fast winds, but wind speeds in India are not that high. Additionally, the forklift they purchased for the plant was six to seven times more expensive than other plants, which would increase overall plant expenditure.

Furthermore, Ford had a high average employee cost of ₹10 lacs per annum per employee, which was higher than other car companies like Tata and Mahindra. To get its running costs back, Ford needed to produce 1 lakh cars per year, which was not enough to sell many cars in India.

These reasons resulted in an operating loss of $2 billion over a period of time after the Sanand plant was built. Ford decided to leave India, but as the Sanand plant had become a headache for them, they sought buyers to sell it to Tata. This relieved Ford’s biggest burden.

Furthermore, Ford also wanted to sell their Tamil Nadu plant, but they kept refusing all brands.

Well, now we know why they were refusing to sell that plant. Obviously, it was because they wanted to come back. But why did they want to come back? Let’s talk about that now.

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Why Ford is Returning to India?

I have two arguments for why they want to come back. First, let’s talk about argument number one.

#1. Fort’s Brand Value in India

Indians often forget about a brand after it leaves, leading to a negative habit of praising it after it leaves. Ford has experienced this phenomenon with their Endeavour and Ecosport, which have gained immense popularity in the used car market.

These cars, with their high demand and high prices, are sold immediately upon listing. Ford recognizes the Indian love for these cars and is bringing their ace back to India.

Why Ford Left India, Why They're Back?

The Endeavour is expected to give a tough competition to the Fortuner due to its superior looks, built, ride quality, engine, and interiors. People worldwide agree that it is better than the Fortuner, making it a strong contender for market share.

It is predicted that the CBU unit will be available in India in 2024, and local manufacturing will begin in the Tamil Nadu plant from 2025. This move demonstrates Ford’s commitment to maintaining its strong presence in the Indian market.

#2. Getting Rid of the Sanand Plant & Losses In EV Business

Another reason why I think they are coming back in India because they finally got rid of the Sanand plant and they face rapid drop in the demand for EVs in US market.

Ford’s return to India is marked by a shift in its operational dynamics. With the sale of the problematic Sanand plant, the burden of high operational costs has diminished. This, coupled with the continued demand for Ford vehicles in the used car market, prompted the company to consider a re-entry strategy.

The drop in electric vehicle demand in the US and the associated losses have also pushed Ford to diversify its market presence, presenting India as a viable market to explore.

These were the two theories why I think Ford wants to come back to India. But as we know, Endeavour is the only car they are bringing. And we know that it’s an expensive SUV.

Potential Models for Success – Puma and Kuga launch

While the Endeavour is a flagship model, Ford’s success in India may hinge on diversifying its product portfolio.

In my opinion, no matter how hard they try they won’t be able to sell more than 1000 units of it. It would be a big feat if they even manage that. Fortuner’s monthly sales are about 3000 units per month in India. It’d be a big deal if Endeavour takes up half of its market share, which is why, I believe that Ford should bring in more cars from its arsenal to India.

But I’m not talking about their elephant-like American cars. I’m talking about their European cars i.e. Puma and Kuga. These two cars will easily blend into the Indian market.

For example, let’s talk about Ford Puma first. This car can be easily sold in the compact SUV category in India. This is the same category as Creta. The length of this car is 4.2 metres. Its width is 1805mm and its height is 1537mm. So it’s very similar to Creta as well as other SUVs in this category.

Ford's Sensational Comeback to India: Why Ford Left India, Why They're Back

But yes, its height is much less than the other cars. So we can’t call it an SUV. But it is a crossover. Irrespective of that look at this car, it’s so beautiful. Most cars today look the same. They all have split headlights. They all have connected tail lights. Almost every car looks the same and boring to me.

Compared to that, this organic-looking car will stand out. Speaking of its engine a 1L or a 1.5L GTI petrol engine is available in this car. With turbo, non-turbo and hybrids as well. So its engine isn’t too different from its competition.

Speaking of Ford Kuga it is also a good option for the Indian market. The dimensions of this car are similar to the XUV 700. And if priced appropriately, it will give tough competition to XUV. There aren’t too many cars in this range anyway.

So I think Ford should bring in these two cars along with Endeavour. And they should also introduce a new generation of Ecosport. If they do so I believe they will hit the jackpot in India.

Conclusion – Why Ford Left India, Why They’re Back?

Ford’s return to the Indian market holds promise, driven by strategic decisions, market analysis, and a focus on consumer demands. While the Endeavour takes the spotlight, the introduction of diverse models like the Puma and Kuga could redefine Ford’s position in India’s competitive automotive landscape.

As enthusiasts eagerly await Ford’s comeback, only time will tell if the brand can carve a successful niche in the Indian market once again.

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