Ford India said on Wednesday it was opening a new dealership in India every 10 days to feed demand in a market it expects to be the third-biggest worldwide by the end of the decade.
The group has tripled its sales in India over the last three years to about 96,000 units in 2011, up from 29,000 in 2009, largely due to the success of its Figo small car.
Despite the strong growth, Ford remains one of the smaller players in a country dominated by Indian-Japanese manufacturer Maruti Suzuki, Mumbai-based Tata Motors and the South Korean auto giant Hyundai.
Ford has ambitious plans for expansion, however, and in September it began building a $1.0 billion second production plant in the western state of Gujarat, adding to its existing factory in the southern port of Chennai.
"Every 10 days we’ve launched a new dealer in India since June last year," Michael Boneham, head of Ford’s India operations, told reporters in New Delhi ahead of the start of the Indian Auto Expo on Thursday.
"That to us is a single vote of confidence in our brand," he added, saying there were now 220 Ford outlets country-wide.
The number of dealers in the capital alone has more than doubled to 11 in the last 15 months.
Ford is in the midst of a huge investment programme in the Asia-Pacific region as it bets on the future growth of car markets in the booming economies of the east, led by China, India and other regional economies. Seven new Ford production facilities are under construction in Asia, said Joe Hinrichs, the company’s president for Asia-Pacific and Africa.
India is expected to be the third-biggest national market in the world by 2020 after China and the United States, he added. There were 1.87 million vehicles sold in India in 2010.