Ford India ceases local manufacturing, announces restructuring plans
The cloud of uncertainty hovering over Ford’s future in India has cleared and things don’t look good. Ford India has announced it is shutting down local manufacturing immediately. This affects both its plants in Sanand and Chennai. Ford will also wind down export manufacturing by the end of 2021, and engine manufacturing and assembly by the second quarter of 2022.
As a result, its current lineup, which includes the Figo, Freestyle, Aspire, EcoSport, and the Endeavour will no longer be on sale once current dealer inventories are sold. However, there is some good news. Ford India will look to import and sell niche products in India like the Mustang. And, as a result of Ford’s USD 30 billion electrification plan, India will also get models like the Mustang Mach-E.
Why has Ford made such a move?
Ford India claimed losses of more than USD 2 billion over the last decade, followed by a USD 0.8 billion non-operating write down of assets in 2019.
Anurag Mehrotra, President and Managing Director, Ford India, said We have not been able to find a sustainable path forward to long-term profitability that includes in-country vehicle manufacturing. The decision was reinforced by years of accumulated losses, persistent industry overcapacity and lack of expected growth in India’s car market.”
What does it mean for current Ford customers?
Ford India will continue to provide parts, service, and warranty support for current owners. Anurag Mehrotra adds “Ford has a long and proud history in India. We are committed to taking care of our customers and working closely with employees, unions, dealers and suppliers to care for those affected by the restructuring.”
What’s next for Ford India?
As mentioned earlier, we will get to see more products from Ford’s global lineup that will come into India as CBUs. You can expect to see the new Mustang make its way here soon, though in not nearly the same numbers (and price) as the Mustang that was sold here in India. Products like the Mustang Mach-E will also make their way here, going up against other luxury EVs like the Jaguar I-Pace, Mercedes-Benz EQC and the Audi e-tron.
That’s not all though, Ford is shifting its focus from manufacturing in India towards expanding ‘Ford Business Solutions’ as part of the Ford+ plan. This will help create opportunities for engineers, scientists, finance, and accounting professionals.
As enthusiasts, we can’t help but feel a little sad seeing the company that once made us fall in love with products like the ‘Josh’ machine — the Ikon, the ‘Go Fida’ Fiesta, and even the quirky but memorable ‘anything karega’ Fusion, come to a state like this. However, there is always a silver lining, and the fact that we might finally get to see some iconic imports from Ford may just drive home that point.