India has become a vital hub in the One Ford strategy, providing an important export base for small cars and engines, the local unit’s head said.

Michael Boneham, president and managing director of Ford India, told The Hindu Business Line production of the new EcoSport compact SUV in the country will be followed by the new Ka, codenamed B562, designed in Brazil and scheduled to be made on a new assembly line being commissioned at its new plant at Sanand in Gujarat.

The One Ford strategy is aimed at ensuring costs are kept in check and individual countries can play to their strengths.

According to Boneham, India’s tier two and three cities will be the key growth drivers in the coming years. This is already evident with the Figo’s customer base in India where two-thirds are first-time car buyers.

He said: “This is a clear indication where the market is heading”, adding that lessons have been learned since the model was launched several years ago.

“The first is that the cost base should be low enough to price products aggressively. In our case, the localisation levels of 85% have helped cope with growing input costs.”