NEW DELHI – Car maker Ford India is trying to cash in on the rising demand of diesel models, as petrol prices in the country are continuing to remain high. “Petrol prices are high. I think, for us that creates a different environment because more people are pushing towards diesel now,” Ford India President and MD Michael Boneham told PTI at AdAsia 2011.
The company, which has met with good customer response to the diesel variant of its hatchback Figo is upbeat about the demand for diesel cars in India. “There is a lot of hidden demand and companies such as ourselves are not able to meet the free demand for diesel. So, we continue to work through that,” he said.
Ford India already has different diesel variants across the range and it “pretty comfortable” with its product line up, he added.
In October, Ford India’s domestic sales declined by 10.36 per cent to 8,091 units from 9,026 units in the same month last year. “It is a tough domestic market with interest rates rising. The 0.25 percentage point (increase in policy rates by RBI) last week was another difficult thing to swallow.
“We would like to see more positive sentiment. I think the expectation is that we should start to see better new year,” Boneham said. The company recently started work on its second plant in Gujarat, on which it will invest Rs 4,000 crore. Talking about the proposed plant, Boneham said: “We will be rolling out a lot of new models from our Gujarat plant. We have talked of eight new models in the next five years and essentially a vast majority of them will be in the small car segment.”