NEW DELHI - Ford announced on Thursday that it plans to stop producing vehicles at both of its plants in India as part of a broader restructuring plan for the region. This could put over 4000 employees out of work in the country.
The plant closures also likely mean the end of the road for the Ford Figo, which is currently built in the Sanand plant in northern India. Approached for comment a Ford South Africa representative said that the local division is still assessing the impact and therefore can’t confirm anything as yet. However, unless Ford has plans to build the Figo in another country, the writing is certainly on the wall for the compact hatch and sedan range.
The plant closure will also affect the lower-spec Ford Ecosport models, which are also sourced from India. The higher-spec, turbocharged Ecosports are however imported from Europe.
But why is Ford closing its Indian manufacturing operations?
"To cease vehicle manufacturing in Chennai (Tamil Nadu) and Sanand (Gujarat); Progressively wind-down manufacturing of vehicles for export at Sanand plant by Q4 2021 and Chennai engine/vehicle assembly plants by Q2, 2022; To continue engine manufacturing for export," Ford India said in a brief statement on social media.
Local media said Ford accumulated operating losses of more than $2 billion (R28.2bn) over the past 10 years and was now looking to "create a sustainably profitable business in India."
The company, however, said it will in turn bring in completely built-up models to India like the Mustang Coupe, Ranger bakkie, and even electric vehicles like the Mustang Mach-E.
"To serve customers with iconic global vehicles and electrified SUVs i.e. Mustang coupe and Mustang Mach-E. Customers to benefit from Ford's global plan to invest over 30 billion US dollars towards delivering all-new hybrid and fully electric vehicles," the company said.
Reports said over 4000 employees are expected to be affected by the company's decision.
After General Motors and Harley Davidson, Ford is the latest carmaker to cease production in India.
IOL & Xinhua