Ford takes Tata route, to invest Rs 4K cr in Sanand

Global automobile major Ford Motor Company on Thursday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the government of Gujarat to set up an integrated manufacturing facility near Sanand at a cost of Rs 4,000 crore.

The MoU was signed between Ford India president and managing director Michael Boneham and Gujarat's Industries principal secretary M Sahu in the presence of Gujarat's Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

Welcoming the entry of Ford Motor in Gujarat, the Chief Minister said the state is capable of becoming a 'global auto hub'. He hoped the company would bring in the latest technology in the automobile sector and set up a world-class skill development centre in the state.

Modi further said that Gujarat has emerged as a global automobiles and transportation hub over the last three years with the entry of Bombardier and Tata Nano.

The two plants to be set up by Ford on a 460-acre plot are projected to be the company's biggest facility outside the US. Gujarat has reserved another 150 acre land for ancillary industry.

Both Ford and officials of the state industry department also kept quiet when asked about the sops offered to Ford for setting up their plant in Gujarat. However sources in the state government informed that," the state government has extended several sops under the mega project category. One special concession relates to tax refund commitment. The government will refund the tax paid by the company."

Sources in the revenue department said Ford has been given 460 acres of land at a rate of Rs 1,100 per square metre. Tata Group was earlier given land at Rs 900 rate. "The prevailing market rate in the area is around Rs 4,000 per square meter. Ford has also been given the Payment After Project Completion facility, and that too in instalments, like in the case of the Tata Nano project.'' they added.

The Sanand facility will produce 4,000 cars and 4,000 engines per year, exporting 20 to 25 per cent of the production. It is envisaged to provide direct employment to 5,000 and indirect employment to 25,000 people, besides 6,000 in ancillary engineering industry, totaling a job opportunity for 36,000.

Ford Motor president Joe Hinrichs said, "These new state-of-the-art facilities will help us reach the goal of increasing worldwide sales by nearly 50 per cent by mid-decade to about eight million vehicles per year."

The construction of the plants is scheduled to begin this year-end and start production by 2014.

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