Still exploring alternatives for closure-bound factories: Ford

Ford Motor Company last month decided to cease local vehicle manufacturing in India. The company has said that it has nothing to announce relating to a possible takeover of its manufacturing plants by any third party at the moment.

By:October 9, 2021 6:52 AM
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Amid speculation that the Tata group is eyeing its manufacturing plants, Ford India has said it has nothing to announce relating to a possible takeover by any third party at the moment.

“We continue to explore possible alternatives for our manufacturing facilities, but have nothing further to share related to ongoing speculations,” a Ford spokesperson informed FE in an e-mail.

There has been media buzz that the Tamil Nadu government is in discussion with the Tata group for a possible takeover of the Ford India unit at Maraimalai Nagar near Chennai. There has been speculation that Tata Sons chairman N Chandrasekaran held talks with Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin and state industry minister Thangam Thennarasu on Wednesday on the subject, and that Tatas appears to have emerged a likely contender to take over Ford’s plants.

Industry experts said that since the Tata group does not have a plant in Tamil Nadu, the Ford facility augers well for the auto major, which has been on an expansion spree off late.

Mails sent to the Tatas did not elicit any response till the time going to the press.

The Tamil Nadu government, sources said, has been working out alternatives to save the Ford plant from being shut. The sources in the government said the state could help broker a deal only when a third party comes forward to buy the plant.

The industry minister had previously met MSME vendors of Ford and taken stock of the possible impact of the plant closure.

Facing $2 billion operating losses, Ford Motor Company last month decided to cease local vehicle manufacturing in India. The company had announced that it will shut down its Sanand vehicle assembly plant by the fourth quarter of 2021, and the Chennai engine and vehicle assembly plants by the second quarter of 2022. Close to 4,000 employees are expected to be affected by the move, and the company said it had started scouting for buyers for the plants.

The workers’ union at the Chennai plant had put pressure on the government to help find a third party buyer by offering incentives. The union had been adamant on job guarantee and refused to discuss a compensation package from the company.

While the management of Ford India refused to give its closure-bound factory employees any job assurance, the union at the Chennai Ford unit said it has approached the state government with a plea to ensure that the new buyer retains the existing workforce. 

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