FTA With Thailand To Be Vital For Pricing
| Chennai, Sept 24: The proposed free trade agreement (FTA) with Thailand could play a crucial part in the pricing of Endeavour. |
The SUV, sourced as a CKD from Ford Thailand, could benefit immensely if some of the auto majors have their way in including auto components under the FTA list. The FTA is likely to be signed by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee when he visits Thailand next month.
Ford India officials have deferred the announcement of the price for the SUV to closer to delivery date which is November. All they have said is that it will be the most affordable global SUV.
The delay in announcing the price, they said, is to get the market feedback after the product is displayed in the dealerships. People in the know of things, however, put the price anywhere between Rs 13 lakh and Rs 15 lakh.
The possible FTA advantage could have also played a part in Ford India opting for the CKD route rather than importing it as a completely build-up unit (CBU) like Ford Mondeo.
Speaking on the occasion, David Friedman, managing director and president Ford India, described Endeavour as an unique product that leverages Ford Motor Companys strengths in the segment worldwide. Endeavour, specifically designed for the Asian conditions, was launched globally only in March this year. He said it has been tested extensively in Africa, Asia, Australia and Japan.
On the growth prospects in the SUV segment in India, Mr Friedman said that the jeep segment was growing at 46 per cent (even faster than the car segment) and there is opportunity for global SUVs with better technology and safety features. Since SUV is a growing segment he expects Endeavours volume to be in hundreds per month initially. Endeavour will be imported from Fords Thailand factory as completely knocked down (CKD) kits and assembled at the companys factory near Chennai.
Its local content is only around 20 per cent. Explaining the key features of the SUV, Ford India vice-president marketing and sales Randy Shockly said that the seven seater Endeavour had the authentic SUV styling with a tough and rugged appeal.