Ford is investing heavily in growing Asian markets, and China and India are at the forefront. In China, Lincoln vehicles are flying off lots, and Ford plans to open 20 new dealerships in the country in 2015 alone. In India, Ford is expanding its manufacturing industry with a $1 billion investment.
The investment will go towards a plant that will be almost entirely automated. Slower sales of the larger models have hurt Ford’s market share in India. As a result, the automaker has a plan for Indian auto production to triple, offsetting slow sales with increased exports. The new factory will focus on making engines and compact cars.
Endgame, Ford plans to triple the current number of exports in coming years, although there’s no exact timeline publicly available. In all, the plant will build 610,000 engines and 440,000 vehicles a year. Included in the compact segment are the EcoSport, a small SUV, and the Figo Aspire, a compact sedan.
“India is very cost competitive, which is important particularly for small vehicles,” Ford Chief Executive Mark Fields told reporters. By building locally, Ford hopes that local sales will pick up as well.