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Gandhinagar, Tuesday: Global automobile major Ford Motors Company signed two Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) with the Government of Gujarat (GoG) to set up a vehicle manufacturing and an engine plant near Sanand at a cost of Rs.4,000-crore in presence of Chief Minister Narendra Modi here today.

The two plants together are projected to be one of the biggest investments made by the company outside America, as part of its strategy for expansion in India to cater to the fast growing markets in the developing countries like India,

The company will bring the latest environment-friendly technology and co-operate with GoG in setting up world-class skill development centres in the state, with potential for direct employment to 5,000 and indirect employment to 25,000 people.

Even as the two facilities will be set up on a 460-acre plot, GoG has reserved another 150-acre land for ancillary industry with additional direct job opportunity for 6,000 people. The Ford Company envisages exporting 25 per cent of the production, paving the way for Gujarat emerging as an automobile export hub.

The construction on the two plants near Sanand is scheduled to begin this yearend and commission by 2014.

The MoUs were signed by Gujarat's Principal Secretary for Industry Maheshwar Sahu and Ford India President Michael Bonham in presence of Ford Asia-Pacific-Africa President Joe Henricks.

It is because of Gujarat's overall competence and competitiveness, industry-friendly environment, nearness to seaport, availability of skilled technical personnel and requisite infrastructure in place and that a top vehicles manufacturer like Ford has chosen the state for setting up its plants. The trend suggests Gujarat as the first choice of several car manufacturers in India their expansion projects to serve the ancillary industry too, for the vast hinterland in northern and western India.

With these two plants near Sanand, Ford's investment in India is set to touch USD 2.1-billion.

It may be mentioned here that Ford Motors had announced in 2010 to introduce eight new models in the country and treble its production capacity. Its subsidiary company had set up a modern facility near Chennai in Tamil Nadu in 1995. It proposes to expand its engine plant.

The company had introduced Diego model in 2010 and within 15 months its sale has soared to one lakh units. It has won 20-odd awards including ‘Indian Car of the Year-2011' as its fuel-efficient engine. ‘Fiesta' is its latest model introduced in India, as the company plans to expand its Chennai facility with an investment of USD 72-million. For India has a service network of 190 outlets in 108 cities in the country.

Gujarat Information Bureau

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