As we reported earlier this week, Ford has made the decision to cease manufacturing in Brazil, a country that it has produced vehicles in for over a century. As one might imagine, that decision didn’t go over well with Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro, who criticized the move and alleged that the automaker was looking to obtain tax breaks and other subsidiaries prior to its departure.
“People complained about the Ford factories,” Bolsonaro told his supporters, according to Bloomberg. “I’m sorry, but I will no longer keep spending your money to support their factories. The factory closed due to competition, there is no more subsidy from us.”
Bolsonaro has thus far pledged to boost Brazil’s economy by implementing business-friendly policies and noted that the government has given Ford almost 20 billion reais ($3.77 billion) in assistance in recent years.
Ford CEO Jim Farley said that Ford’s decisions to close its Brazilian plants were “necessary actions to create a healthy and sustainable business.” Lyle Watters, President of Ford South America and International Markets Group, said that the automaker “has made significant progress in transforming our operations,” but noted, “the continued unfavorable economic environment and the additional pressure caused by the pandemic have made it clear that much more was needed to create a sustainable and profitable future.”
Production will be stopped immediately in Camaçari and The Ford Taubaté Engine Plant, while the Troller plant in Horizonte will continue to operate until the fourth quarter of 2021. As a result, Ford will end sales of the Ford EcoSport, Ka, and Troller T4 as soon as inventories are exhausted. The automaker has said that it will work closely with unions and other partners to develop a fair and balanced plan to minimize the impacts of the shutdown.
Ford will continue to provide sales, services, spare parts, and warranty coverage for its customers in Brazil and South America, and will also maintain its Product Development Center in Bahia, the Campo de Provas, in Tatuí (SP), and its regional headquarters in São Paulo.