After Ford India delivered its one-millionth car in India to its customer, the company on Tuesday said that it's growing faster than the auto industry.
In an exclusive interview to CNBC-TV18, Anurag Mehrotra, president and managing director, said the company is working with Mahindra & Mahindra on electric vehicle.
According to Mehrotra, the auto industry will grow at 8-10 percent and the company sees an uplift in the performance because of strong brand, right product, competitive cost and effective scale.
You have achieved the milestone of a million customers. Is that an encouraging number for Ford?
Absolutely. First of all, it is a privilege to serve over a million customers and I can tell you that everyone at Ford is excited about crossing this milestone. It has taken us a certain amount of time to get here but I am sure that the next one million will come sooner.
The second thing is today we are growing much faster than the industry. We are seeing financially a significant amount of uplift in our performance and a lot of that has got to do with our focus on staying committed to our four strategic pillars.
Strong brand, right product, competitive cost and effective scale, these four strategic pillars over the last two years, we have been laser-focused on executing and we are now starting to see the results of that.
Million customers, growing faster than the industry, volume growth, customer satisfaction - all the elements are now falling in place.
What is going to be the next milestone? If we have to keep a milestone for this year or this financial year, what will that be for Ford?
I can tell you that we believe the industry will continue to grow between 8 percent and 10 percent range for this year and we will grow faster than that. We will continue to ensure that we bring products that customer want and value and do an extremely good job of flawlessly executing on our strategy. That is what we are going to commit ourselves to.
Are we only looking at an upliftment of the Fort Aspire and the Ford Figo Sedan this year or are there more products in the offing?
I think there is absolutely the cycle plan for Ford in India is extremely strong. We are committed to making sure that we deliver a sustainable, profitable business in India and the product that we have launched early this year which is freestyle, the good news is over 50 percent of the work for that was done by the India product development team and that to me is a sign of confidence that the product development team has.
Second is, the export to mature markets, whether it is the Europe or the United States, all of it is now falling into place both from Chennai and Sanand, which again speaks about the manufacturing excellence. So once you get the right product, you get the manufacturing extremely well done, you will find that the consumers will find value in that.
Ford and Mahindra & Mahindra – they have come together to form an alliance. When will we see the first products or the first cars of this alliance hitting the road, any timeline that you have in mind?
I think the September last year we signed the broad memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Mahindra & Mahindra and we are extremely delighted to say that by March – in a very short span of time – was able to zone in on a couple of areas where we could collaborate whether it is in products, whether it is in power trains, whether it is electrification, connected cars and then mobility solutions. The good news is the chemistry between the two teams is very good and that is always an encouraging sign and now as the teams progress towards the finalising of the business case and other elements, we will make sure, we come back and tell you about it.
Trust me, all of us are very excited about it and I can tell you with absolute humility, there is a lot for us to learn from Mahindra & Mahindra.
What is your sense on the EV ecosystem prevailing in India as of now? Any concerns or are you optimistic?
I think extremely optimistic. It is an area, which will come. You look at all the other markets, markets like China, almost 20-30 percent of their future volume is going to be electrified cars.
For Ford, the product and the technology and the capability exists, the question is can we create the right business case for the investment to be justified. One of the areas that we are working with Mahindra & Mahindra on is electrification and as and when that business case fructifies, we will be able to come back and talk to you more about it.
We are looking at this global trade war right now, a hike in import tariffs as far as steel and aluminium in the US is concerned, does this global trade war worry Ford?
You have covered politics for a long period of time and you know that governments will always find ways of working together to ensure that there is ease of doing business and we are confident that the two governments from the two of the largest economies will come together and make sure that the right business decisions are made.