Ford India has 20,000 firm export orders for its Ikon sedan model from Mexico and South Africa for 2001, and is projecting export revenues of around US$35 million for the year.

Ford exported 7,000 Ikon assembly kits to both countries in the four months to the end of January.

Ford India managing director Phillip Spender told reporters that the success in exporting to fairly well developed markets such as Mexico and South Africa was proof that the Indian arm of Ford could compete on a global basis. Around 18,000 cars will be shipped to Mexico and 2,000 to South Africa in 2001.

Ford also announced the national roll-out of its Assured used car program in India. The auto-maker is partnering with dealers to buy, recondition and resell used cars of all makes.

Ford research has shown that customers shopping for a second-hand car in India faced numerous problems, including a lack of trust in used dealers.

Cars sold under the Assured scheme will receive a 116-point check, and a 15-month warranty. Three free maintenance services are also included.