Following a two-day visit to India by Ford chairman and CEO Bill Ford, the company has confirmed an equity boost of US$75 million to support further growth in the important emerging market.

During his visit, Ford launched the new Fiesta sedan.

Confirming the company’s plans, Ford India managing director and president Arvind Mathew said: “To support the aggressive growth strategy we have in place, Ford India will be augmenting its subscribed capital. [We] have received approval from Ford Motor Company for an additional equity infusion of US$75 million to meet the needs of our future plans.”

With US$375 million already invested, the car maker is in its ninth year of business in the country, having started in 1996 as a joint venture with Mahindra and Mahindra (M&M).

In March 2005, Ford India became a wholly owned subsidiary of Ford Motor Company, after divestment of its crossholding portfolio with M&M.

Cars are made in factory at Maraimalai Nagar, near Chennai [previously called Madras]. Spread over 350 acres, the facility was a greenfield project.

Ford India also exports auto components and vehicle assembly kits.

Indian market models are the Ikon [sedan version of a previous generation European Fiesta], Mondeo, Endeavour and Fusion. The new Fiesta, based on the latest European Fiesta platform, will be launched in mid November.

Ford will have 115 dealerships in 79 Indian cities by the end of 2005.

It employs about 1, 800 and has regional offices in Chennai, Mumbai [once Bombay] and Delhi.