After deciding to close its three factories in Brazil and become an importer, Ford decided to adopt in South America the same strategy that the American group has in other regions in the production of commercial vehicles – a segment that has been growing worldwide -, which is the outsourcing of production.
As it does in China, Turkey and Russia, Ford has partnered with the company Nordex, from Uruguay, to produce Transit in van and van versions. There are Brazilian companies supplying parts for production, but the number was not revealed yesterday, when the automaker presented the vehicle to the local press.
The group created in the country a specific division for the sale of light commercial vehicles. Transit will be on sale in the country this year, first in the minibus version for school transport and tourism. Next year, the van version arrives, for cargo transportation.
Transit will be sold at the approximately 110 points of sale of the brand’s dealerships that were maintained after the restructuring that followed the announcement of the end of local operations. It’s less than half of what the brand had when it sold cars, or 287 dealerships.
Ford South America Vice President Rogelio Golfarb explains that one of the reasons for the high demand for vans in all markets is the growth in online sales, especially after the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
The company estimates a market of 66,600 minibuses and vans in South America this year (15% increase compared to 2020), and 33,100 for Brazil (7% increase compared to last year).
The decision to partner with Nordex, according to Golfarb, is the standard of quality in the production of lower volumes of vehicles, the cost equation and experience in the field. The group already produces Peugeot Expert, Citroën Jumpy and Kia Bongo.
With a factory in the region, Ford also continues to benefit from the Mercosur tariff reduction agreement, as well as free trade in the future.
The two companies shared an investment of US$ 50 million in an exclusive line for the production of Transit, a vehicle that is the leader in sales in the segment in the US and Europe.
Ford says that Transit’s advantage over competitors will be an unprecedented connectivity service that will allow quick access to maintenance calls, remote troubleshooting, towing, among others.
Among the competitors are the Renault Master, Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, Hyundai HR, Iveco Daily and BYD T-3, the only one in the electric version.
According to data from Fenabrave (representing the dealerships), 22,122 vans were sold until August, 15.8% more than in the same period in 2020.
Ford is negotiating the sale of the three factories in São Paulo and Bahia, but has not received any effective purchase proposal.
The information is from the newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo.