Gearhead News

January 12, 2021
Ford Pulls the Plug on Its Entire Brazil Operation

Ford will no longer build any cars in Brazil, the company announced on Monday morning. Allegedly underused due to the pandemic, the Blue Oval’s factories in Camaçari and Taubaté will have the majority of their operations stop immediately with some parts production continuing for “a few months” in order to meet aftermarket supply requirements, according to Reuters. Belo Horizonte, meanwhile, which builds the sweet-looking Troller T4—essentially Brazil’s own, Ranger-based, Bronco-type thing—will stay open and operational until Q4.

The closures are part of the company’s previously planned $11 billion global restructuring as well as its strategy to hit eight percent global operating margins. It’ll also affect the jobs of approximately 5,000 mostly Brazilian employees. “This very hard blow took us by surprise. We never imagined that Ford could close its factories in Brazil,” union leader Julio Bonfim reportedly told workers in a video message.

Ford

In terms of cars that the South American market will lose, Ford will no longer sell the EcoSport crossover, Ka subcompact, or aforementioned Troller T4 in the continent outside of examples already assembled and on dealer lots.

Ford says Brazil’s industry vehicle sales dropped 26 percent in 2020 and are not anticipated to get back to pre-pandemic levels until 2023. “We know these are very difficult, but necessary, actions to create a healthy and sustainable business,” Ford CEO Jim Farley said in a statement. “We are moving to a lean, asset-light business model by ceasing production in Brazil.”

While Ford’s manufacturing plants are shuttering in Brazil, the company is reportedly keeping its product development center in Bahia, its Tatuí, São Paulo proving grounds, as well as its regional headquarters in São Paulo. And not to mention, its Fordlandia ruins deep in the Amazon.

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