Ford invests $142 mln in India to build new compact SUV image

Ford Motor Co., on Wednesday has unveiled its new EcoSport small utility vehicle at New Delhi Auto Show.

The little SUV, called the EcoSport, will be built on the same underpinnings as the automaker’s subcompact Ford Fiesta and likely will be sold first in South America and Asia.

The Detroit-based automaker said it will invest $142 million in the company’s Chennai plant in south India to manufacture the vehicle.

“The Indian market will be the third largest by the end of the decade behind the U.S. and China,” Joe Hinrichs, group vice-president and Asia Pacific and Africa president told reporters.

“We are still bullish on India and we expect significant growth as per capita income rises in tier-II and -III cities.”

In addition, the US automaker plans to expand its existing engine plant in Chennai from 250,000 engines a year to 340,000. The company has approx. 10,000 employees in India at this moment.

The 2012 India Auto Expo, held once every two years, commences on Thursday in New Delhi.