A number of sources have cited Ford of Europe’s chief Stephen Odell as saying that EcoBoost right-hand drive vehicles will ship to the UK for its 2013 launch date, as well left-hand drive versions for European markets, both sourced from the Chennai plant.
The EcoSport is a ‘global model’ first developed by Ford in South America in 2003, which has gone on to establish a new segment. It has sold more than 700,000 units in that region and has been introduced to both India and China. The vehicle will be launched in Europe in late 2013.
The Chennai plant also makes the Figo, Fusion, Fiesta and Endeavour models and Ford is keen to exploit capacity and build exports from there, though volumes were below 3,000 in 2012. The Figo model itself was shipped to 34 countries, according to the carmaker. The company also exports engines to Europe from its adjacent Chennai engine plant, which makes 1.2-, 1.4- and 1.6-litre petrol and diesel varients.
Ford uses the nearby port of Chennai for exports and the Chennai Port Trust is developing a 50-hectare dry port and multimodal logistics hub at nearby Sriperumbudur for carmakers that include Ford.
Exports from other markets are part of Ford’s restructuring plan as capacity shifts to different markets. As part of the plan the company is closing its plant in Genk, Belgium, as well as the Ford assembly plant in Southampton and its stamping and tooling operations in Dagenham, both in the UK (read more here).