Ford India May Return As An EV Maker Under The PLI Programme

Ford may be able to locally manufacture EVs at one of its Indian plants if the government’s PLI incentive scheme is approved.

Only six months after Ford India shut down local production, we now have word that the American automaker has been granted approval under the government’s PLI scheme to restart production.

“We thank the Government of India for approving Ford’s proposal under the PLI scheme for the automobile sector,” said Kapil Sharma, director, Communications at Ford India, in an interview with Autocar India. We’re looking into the possibility of using a plant in India as an export base for EV manufacturing as Ford leads customers through the global electric vehicle revolution.”

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Aside from the news that Ford may resume car production in India and that it will be for export, there are still a number of intriguing questions to be answered, such as which models will be produced, at which plant, and whether they will be offered to Indian buyers, and if so, when?

Which Plant Would Ford India use for Electric Vehicles?

Ford India May Return As An EV Maker Under The PLI Programme
Ford India May Return As An EV Maker Under The PLI Programme

Ford is remaining tight-lipped for the time being and has no further details to share; the company must now decide which of its two plants to keep. Both plants would need retooling and other significant changes to handle EV production after previously producing only internal-combustion engine (ICE) models. As a result, the choice will be based on which of the two is better suited to the required retooling.

Another factor to consider is which plant has the best chance of being sold, as Ford has stated that it cannot keep both plants operational and is looking to sell one of them. As a result, the firm has a lot of figuring out to do on this front.

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Which products would be manufactured here is also something that needs to be sorted out. Ford would not want to move production of an existing car from an established line, and besides, the company has a very robust EV gameplan that includes many new EVs, so it will almost certainly be a brand-new model. The company recently announced a $30 billion global investment to develop all-new hybrid and fully electric vehicles. The India plant would almost certainly be used to produce lower-cost EVs, taking advantage of India’s low cost structure.

If any of this materialises, it won’t be anytime soon, given the plant’s extensive retooling requirements and the fact that this will most likely be an entirely new model that has yet to be developed.

Are Ford India’s Electric Vehicles Only for Export?

Ford India May Return As An EV Maker Under The PLI Programme
Ford India May Return As An EV Maker Under The PLI Programme

Ford could turn India into an export-only manufacturing base, according to the company’s statement. Companies can produce products locally even if they aren’t sold here under the Government’s PLI scheme, as long as they meet localization goals, year-over-year growth goals, and a few other criteria.

With an active dealer network, Ford continuing to support customers with a five-year price freeze on spare parts and consumables, and also announcing that it would retain over 90% of its service network, selling these made-in-India EVs locally makes sense. Furthermore, the PLI scheme requires a high level of localization, making these lower-segment EVs extremely viable for the Indian market.

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Will Ford India Only Sell Electric Vehicles?

“There have been no specific discussions on this right now as Ford also plans to serve customers in India with must-have, iconic vehicles, including the Mustang coupe,” Sharma said, adding that the company has not yet envisioned that plan.

In the near future, we may see a mix of locally produced Ford electric cars and imported higher-end Fords. With this development, it’s clear that Ford isn’t giving up on India and wants to keep its options open in the country.

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