Ford Motor Co. will shut its car factories in India and record roughly US$2 billion in restructuring charges, scaling back significantly in a country that past management saw becoming one of its three biggest markets.
Manufacturing of vehicles for sale in India will stop immediately, and about 4,000 employees will be affected, the carmaker said in a statement Thursday. Ford will wind down an assembly plant in the western state of Gujarat by the fourth quarter, as well as vehicle and engine manufacturing plants in the southern city of Chennai by the second quarter of next year.
The decision by Ford comes after it struggled for years to win over Indian consumers and turn a profit. The carmaker entered India 25 years ago but has a less than 2% share of the passenger vehicles market.
In its statement, Ford said it accumulated operating losses of more than $2 billion in 10 years in India and demand for its new vehicles had been weak.
“Despite (our) efforts, we have not been able to find a sustainable path forward to long-term profitability,” Ford India head Anurag Mehrotra said in the statement.
The decision was reinforced by years of accumulated losses, persistent industry overcapacity and lack of expected growth in India’s car market,” he said.
Ford follows other U.S. carmakers such as General Motors (GM.N) and Harley Davidson (HOG.N) which have already left India, a market that had once promised exponential growth. The country is dominated by mainly low-cost cars made by Suzuki Motor Corp (7269.T) and Hyundai Motor (005380.KS).
As part of the plan, Ford India will wind down operations at its plant in Sanand in the western state of Gujarat by the fourth quarter of 2021 and vehicle and engine manufacturing in its southern Indian plant in Chennai by 2022.
The U.S. automaker will continue to sell some of its cars in India through imports and it will also provide support to dealers to service existing customers, it said. Around 4,000 employees are expected to be affected by its decision.
The decision to stop production in India comes after Ford and domestic carmaker Mahindra & Mahindra (MAHM.NS)failed to finalise a joint venture partnership that would have allowed Ford to continue producing cars at a lower cost than currently but cease its independent operations.
The company said the decision to cease production was made after considering several other options including partnerships, platform sharing, contract manufacturing and the possibility of selling its manufacturing plants, which is still under review.
Recent News of Ford
Ford actually built a ‘Very Gay Raptor’ in response to an internet troll
Ford responded to an internet troll with a strong statement against homophobia, creating a rainbow and glittery gold-wrapped truck that paraded the streets of Cologne, Germany to celebrate Pride Day.
“Very gay” is how one internet denizen described the new Ranger Raptor Special Edition pickup in a comment on a Ford Europe social media post. The company noticed and, in response, took the concept of a very gay Ranger Raptor and ran with it. According to Ford, the commenter wrote in response to the reveal, “Well… that’s a cool car! -But that blue color is very Gay!! Hey Ford! Paint in BlackNGold or camo!”
The commenter sparked a comeback from Ford. On June 25, the company tweeted an animation of the Raptor in its rainbow livery in support of the LGBTQ+ community.
— Ford Europe (@FordEu) June 25, 2021
But then Ford went one step further and actually built a Ranger Raptor in said livery. Ford took the “black and gold” recommendation literally, wrapping the truck in the glitziest gold one can imagine. Over the gold, a rainbow swirls around the truck, ending with a pink heart on the tailgate.
What Ford has dubbed the Very Gay Raptor made its debut at the Christopher Street Day parade, a LGBTQ+ celebration in Cologne. Incidentally, this isn’t the first time Ford has participated at the event with a rainbow-themed vehicle. In 1997 Ford created a Ka Pickup prototype out of the Ka compact hatch. The concept never made it to production, but it was later repainted in rainbow colors by Ford’s internal GLOBE (Gay, Lesbian Or Bi-Sexual Employees) group for use in Christopher Street Day celebrations for many years.