x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Robots join Ford India

CHENNAI // Up to 30 per cent of the workload at Ford's Indian factory will be taken on by robots in response to high consumer demand for the Ford Figo, the American automaker's latest small car. The high-tech robots will be taking on repetitive tasks such as applying coats of paint, welding the body structure, sealing the underbody and hemming the car doors. Ford has already invested $500 million (Dh1.84 billion) into the Chennai plant in the past year in order to double the factory's capacity to 200,000 cars per year. There are also plans for Ford to export the Chennai-made Figos to South Africa in the coming months. This latest expansion by Ford is part of a bigger trend by various automakers, including Hyundai, Renault Nissan and BMW, to make Chennai India's manufacturing hub for small vehicles. "We are in the small car Detroit of India," says Michael Boneham, the Chennai-based managing director of Ford's India operation, adding that the factory is focused on the Indian domestic market as well as export opportunities.