Demand for the compact SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle) Ford Ecosport has shot through the roof with Ford Motors taking the necessary steps for production.
The Chennai production plant in India is where these vehicles are produced and Ford have decided to make the plant operate on a 24 hour basis in order to meet the requirements.
Ford are aiming to produce 160,000 Ecosport SUVs and they are going to run three shifts a day, meaning the plant will be in operation 24 hours a day. This is the first time this has ever happened in the 17 years Ford have been producing vehicles in India.
Ford expect to make this plant operate 24 hours a day by the second part of 2014 and aim to up the production from 160,000 vehicles a year to 200,000. The current production rate for the Ecosport is 350 vehicles per day and Ford are aiming to have this plant producing 450 a day by June 2014. Once the 24 hours shifts are introduced, Ford aim to have this production rate increased to 600 vehicles a day.
The Ecosport is not the only Ford vehicle produced at the Chennai plant but there is also the Fiesta and Figo as well as some other models. With the introduction of 24 hour shifts the total vehicles produced each day at the plant will increase from 750 to 850 a day by June 2014.
There is such a demand for the Ecosport coming from within India as well as other export markets. Europe and Japan are some of the most popular destinations for the Ecosport.
Demand for the 2013 second generation Ecosport was very high and there was over 60,000 bookings made for the vehicle. Ford India had produced 35,000 by January 2014 and in order to meet the customer orders and keep them happy at the same time, the 24 hour shifts were needed.
This is what Chackalackal the head of manufacturing for Ford India has to say about the issue: "Based on the business plan of India and overseas, investment into manufacturing plant was made, but demand has far exceeded our expectations, the demand for B SUV market has grown more than we thought at the planning stage. Whatever we had committed to the overseas markets or India remains, we are not changing schedules,"