Ford India has been facing quite a bit of flak over the past few months for botching up deliveries of the EcoSport compact crossover, the American car maker’s best selling product in the Indian market. Currently, many variants of the Ford EcoSport command waiting periods that range between 8 months and a year, making the crossover unattractive to many prospective buyers.
Ford India is struggling with a burgeoning order book as well as a crunch in EcoSport parts supplied by vendors. Adding to Ford’s capacity woes is the large export market it caters to through its Indian factory. Ford India has charted out a plan to reduce waiting periods for the crossover by making changes at the operational level. From the second half of this year, the Maramalainagar factory that the car maker runs in Tamil Nadu, will run in three shifts instead of the current two.
This means that the factory will operate 24 hours a day, a first for Ford in India. Also, vendors are expected to increase their supplies to meet the higher production requirement. Currently, Ford is struggling to run two shifts on account of parts supply issues from vendors, who clearly don’t seem to have anticipated such a high demand for the EcoSport. While Ford produces 350 EcoSports/day currently, this number is expected go up to 450 units/day by June.
By October, Ford plans to turbo boost EcoSport production, taking daily production to 750-850 units as the car maker will begin catering to demand from Europe and Japan. These measures are likely to drastically bring down EcoSport waiting periods. The Maramalainagar Ford factory will output about 160,000 cars this year, with the number slated to go up to 200,000 units next year. The car maker will add a factory at Sanand by the end of this year, from where the 2015 Figo hatchback and compact sedan models will roll out.