Ford pulls plug on India ops

Americans auto giants don’t seem to get it right when it comes to making cars and motorcycles for Indians. After the exit of General Motors and Harley-Davidson, it’s now the turn of another iconic brand Ford to quit India. Having invested over $2.5 billion in India, and with a presence since 1995, Ford ended 2020-21 selling 48,042 units to garner a 1.8% share of the pie.

The company promised that “restructuring” of its India business — that will see its two plants in Chennai and Sanand shut down by the second quarter of next year — will not mean end of services and after-sales support for the roughly 10-lakh customers it has in the country as its 300-odd dealerships will remain open for service.

“This is a very difficult decision. No matter what we tried and investigated, all our projections show we will continue to give sub-optimal returns to shareholders and investors. There was no other option, but to restructure,” Anurag Mehrotra, MD and president of Ford India, said as he outlined a new strategy that would see the company begin import and sale of “must-have, iconic vehicles”, including Mustang coupe.

Ford said it took the decision after considering several options, including partnerships, platform sharing, contract manufacturing with others and the possibility of selling its manufacturing plants, which is still under consideration. “Despite these efforts, we have not been able to find a sustainable path forward to long-term profitability that includes in-country vehicle manufacturing,” he said.

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