Ford is closing three production plants along with overall production in Brazil. The company announced the plans today and provided further details, while reassuring those in the South American market that despite the closures, it remains committed to the region.
Two of the blue oval’s Brazil production lines will be closed immediately. The plants in Camaçari and Taubaté will be winding down production, while it’s Troller plant in Horizonte, in the Brazilian state of Ceará, will cease production in the fourth quarter of of 2021.
Ford promises to keep serving the South American market with cars produced in Argentina and Uruguay, where assembly of some models will continue. The Ford Ranger is one such model; it’s produced in Argentina.
The press reports cite the Ford’s CEO, Jim Farley, who said:
“With more than one century in South America and Brazil, we know that these are very difficult but necessary actions to create a healthy and sustainable business. We are moving towards an agile business model with a lighter structure in Brazil and towards providing those clients with some of the best and most exciting cars from our global portfolio. We are also rushing to provide our clients the benefits of connectivity, electrification and autonomous technologies in order to efficiently meet the need for environmentally friendly and future-proof cars.
Ford goes on to emphasize that the only thing shutting down in Brazil is production. But for the South American country it is an understandably solemn announcement, as the closure will affect many of the country’s workers. Ford claims it is coordinating with the affected parties to ameliorate the news.
And this is not the first time that a Brazilian Ford plant has closed. Recall that the carmaker closed its Sao Bernardo do Campo plant last year. The notable difference here is that car production is ceasing in the whole country.
The report also cites Lyle Watters, the president of Ford South America and the International Markets group:
Besides reducing costs in all business aspects, we oversaw the launch of the Ranger Storm, Territory and Kuga, as well as introduced innovative services for our clients. While these efforts had positive outcomes during the last quarters of the fiscal year, continued unfavorable economic conditions and the additional burden of the pandemic made it clear it was necessary to do so in order to create a sustainable and tenable future.
So, while Farley wasn’t explicit, Watters did note the effect the pandemic had had on the company. Nonetheless, Ford’s center of product development in Bahía, and its proving grounds in Tatuí, São Paulo, will remain open. Ford’s regional headquarters there will stay open, too.
The two plants whose production is winding down today will remain in operation only to produce parts needed to bolster spare parts inventories in the country. But vehicle production is shutting down in the plants, and when the country’s dealers run out of the EcoSport, Ka, and Troller T4 models, sales of these will finalize.
Those three models face an uncertain future now, and among these I will mourn the Ka the most, though the Troller T4 is a close second. We’ve reached out to Ford and will provide any updates the carmaker provides.
UPDATE [Monday, January 11, 2021, 06:05 PM CT]
A spokesperson for the Ford Motor Company replied to our inquiry about the plant closures, stating:
We will meet the needs of South American customers, including Brazil, with a range of modern and connected SUV´s, pickups, and commercial vehicles sourced from Argentina, Uruguay, and other regions. In addition to the recently announced Transit, New-Gen Ranger, Mach-1 Mustang, Bronco, we will be introducing several new vehicles including some all-new entrants and a plug-in. This includes expanding connected services and introducing new automated and electrified technologies to the markets.
As we said today, production will cease immediately at Camaçari and Taubaté, with some parts production continuing for a few months to support inventories for aftermarket sales. The Troller plant in Horizonte will continue to operate until the fourth quarter of 2021. As a result, the company will end sales of EcoSport, Ka and T4 once inventories are sold. Manufacturing operations in Argentina and Uruguay and the sales companies in other SA markets are not affected.
In Argentina, Manufacturing operations will not be impacted and the investment plan to produce the next- generation Ranger continues as planned. Ka sales will continue until inventories are exhausted and EcoSport sales will continue to be sourced from an alternative region for Consortio customers.