Page 80 - IACC Newsletter March-April 2014 Issue 03

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US investments in India
Ford to invest $2 billion in India, will create thousands of jobs: Kumar Galhotra
Kumar Galhotra learnt to drive in a Premier Padmini in Chandigarh. Now, as Ford Motor Co.'s vice president for
engineering, he owns a Mustang. But he rarely uses Ford's best-selling sports car for his daily commute. That's because
he's test driving either Ford cars or those of the competition all the time.
One of the key people at Ford after global CEO Alan Mulally and head of global product development Raj Nair, Galhotra
fought jetlag on Monday to speak to ET in New Delhi about the company and the industry in general, ahead of the Auto
Expo. Since joining Ford in 1988, Galhotra has held various positions in product development and product strategy before
moving into his latest role in August last year, reporting to Nair.
Galhotra is responsible for the engineering of all cars, trucks, SUVs and crossover vehicles for the Ford and Lincoln brands.
Galhotra and Nair have to deliver on the One Ford strategy, which is to develop one product for the global market.
Meanwhile, the company seems to have consciously hired talent from around the world - Egypt-born Ehab Kaoud is chief
designer for Ford North America and chief procurement officer is Hau Thai-Tang, who is of Vietnamese origin.
In India, Ford is building two new factories for engines and cars in Sanand, Gujarat, in addition to the Chennai plant.
Galhotra, making his third to India within a year, sees more trips in the offing given Ford's belief that India by 2020, will be
an annual market of 7 million cars, up from 2.5 million last year. Excerpts:
On learning to drive
Oh yes. I learnt to drive in a Premier Padmini. We used to call it Fiat back then. The markets have come a long way since
then. And it's got a long way to go. We think India can touch 7 million units by 2020. Tastes have changed. Consumers are
very savvy. They are very worldly. I think there is a tremendous opportunity to be here. We started with Figo, which is a
big volume car and then we launched the Fiesta, which is in the niche segment for the enthusiaist and the EcoSport, a big
success. We want to just build on this momentum. We showed the Figo Concept today.
On adapting to customer needs
The EcoSport is a sub-four metre car and so is the Figo Concept, which is going to be a sub-four metre. So we design our
products based on customer needs. It's clearly that simple.
On rapidly evolving technology
We do that (driverless cars) for parallel parking now and now we are working on a technology that can do perpendicular
parking. Lots of low velocity collisions happen in traffic jams, where people are following stop and go traffic. At some
point, drivers lose concentration and run into each other. The active city stop feature won't allow that, the car will stop
automatically even if the customer is not putting his foot on the paddle.
We have smart cruise control. In this case, you don't set a particular speed; you acquire the target vehicle, and then
maintain the speed. We intend to keep building on semi-autonomous features as more and more technologies become
available, so we are assessing, more and more technology options. A lot of legal issues, technological issues, infrastructure
issues need to be resolved, before we get to truly autonomous driving.