After the end of its operation with a factory in Brazil in January this year, Ford continues its restructuring plan around the world. This time the blue oval brand announced the closure of all its factories in India, the country where the Ford EcoSport is produced – and which curiously was waiting to get a facelift.
The factories that will have their doors closed are in Sanand and Chennai, cities in southwestern and eastern India, respectively. And while in Brazil the announcement of the closing of the Camaçari plant, in Bahia, was followed by a suspension of activities practically instantaneously after the official announcement, in India the operations will be closed during the first half of 2022.
The Chennai factory is responsible for the production of the EcoSport, which was shipped to different parts of the world, including Argentina. This was Ford Argentina’s alternative to not stop offering the compact SUV on the market, as previously the model sold in the country herman it was manufactured in Brazil – that is, until the Camaçari manufacturing complex had its operation closed at the beginning of this year.
Officially, Ford says it will continue to provide parts and service to the Indian market, in addition to ongoing warranty and owner support. As part of the plan, Ford India will end vehicle assembly in Sanand in the fourth quarter of 2021 and vehicle and engine manufacturing in Chennai in the second quarter of 2022. As a result, around 4,000 workers will be laid off from their jobs.
In return, the brand says that more than 500 employees at the Sanand plant, which also produces engines for export for the Ranger pickup, and about 100 employees who support parts distribution and customer service, will continue their jobs at Ford India .
The justification for ending its local operation in India, according to Ford, is the accumulated operating losses of more than $2 billion (R$10.5 billion) over the past 10 years and a write-off of non-operating assets of US $0.8 billion in 2019. With the plant closings, the manufacturer hopes the restructuring will create a sustainable profitable business in India.
According to sources heard by the Argentina Autoblog website, the compact SUV will continue to be sold in the country herman while there is stock.
“The EcoSport will continue to be sold in Argentina until stocks are depleted, which we estimate will occur in early 2023. We are committed to the Chennai plant to provide us with the necessary stock to serve all customers who are paying savings plans for this model. ” (a kind of financing available there, emphasis added).
“We are committed to serving all these customers. The production of EcoSport in Chennai will continue until the second quarter of 2022 and this will allow us to have enough volume for the Argentine market”. But after the stocks run out, the utility will go out of production permanently and will not leave a successor, something that will happen in early 2023. “Once Chennai’s stocks are exhausted, it is not planned to continue the sale of EcoSport in Argentina”, they concluded the sources.
However, one cannot fail to mention that the announcement of closures of all Ford plants in India caused some surprise, as well as the closure of the brand’s operation with national production here in Brazil, which took place in January this year. What may be of encouragement for India is that the Sanand factory will remain active, but not producing vehicles, but engines for the Ranger pickup – which will have its new generation unveiled later this year.
Remember that restyled EcoSport spotted cruising the streets of India that we showed you a few times here on Motor1.com? The forecast is that all this facelift work for the compact SUV should be used in another country, as it continues to be produced in Ford plants in Romania, Russia, China and Vietnam. Well, that was until the oval brand decided to close some of these manufacturing units as well.
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