Ford plans Ikon for Indian market
Ford Motor Co. will introduce a small four-door sedan called the Ikon in India during the fourth quarter this year. The sedan, designed specifically for India at Ford's Small Vehicle Center in Dunton, England, will be produced at the new Ford India Ltd. greenfield plant at Maraimalai Nagar, India. The vehicle is a stretched version of the Ford Fiesta, designed to be durable enough for India's roads, said a Ford of Europe spokesman. The car will likely be exported to other emerging markets.
Fiat and Ford talk about engines
TURIN - Fiat Auto and Ford Motor Co. have begun talks about jointly producing engines and gearboxes in India for Ford India Ltd. and Fiat India Automobiles Ltd.
The most likely site for production would be Fiat India's plant at Kurla. The gasoline engine would be based on Fiat's 1.2-liter, 4-cylinder FIRE engine. The diesel engine would probably be based on Fiat's 1.7-liter 4-cylinder turbodiesel, made in Brazil.
In recent months, rumors have circulated about a possible merger or other alliance of Fiat Auto and Ford.
The engines to be built in Kurla would be used in the Fiat Uno and Siena models. Ford would use the engines in the Escort and the Ikon.
Cutback for Fiat state aid
TURIN - The European Commission has permitted euro 20.4 million in Italian state aid to Fiat Auto's Pomigliano d'Arco plant, near Naples, which builds the Alfa Romeo 145, 146 and 156. The Italian government had proposed subsidies of euro 30.5 million. Fiat had threatened to move production of the 156 and a new model to Poland if it received no subsidy. In reducing the proposed grant, the EC said only 40 percent of production, or about 200 cars a day, would have been affected by relocating to Poland.
Diana T. Kurylko
Fiat buys CVTs
TURIN - Fiat Auto has signed an agreement with ZF Batavia LLC of Batavia, Ohio, USA, to buy and eventually manufacture continuously variable transmissions (CVT) for medium-sized cars. A CVT improves fuel economy by up to 20 percent compared to a conventional transmission.
Fiat will begin using ZF Batavia USA-built CVTs on its new lower-medium and upper-medium cars starting in 2002. In the project's second phase, a new joint-venture will be created, to produce these CVT units at Fiat Auto's transmission plant at Verrone, northeast of Turin. This venture would supply several carmakers.
ZF Batavia, in a former Ford Motor Co. plant, is a joint venture 51 percent owned by the German supplier ZF Friedrichshafen AG and 49 percent by Ford.