Last September, Ford announced that it would be ending its vehicle manufacturing operations in India after the automaker racked up operating losses of more than $2 billion over the last 10 years in that country. As a result, operations at the Ford Sanand Assembly Plant ended in Q4 of 2021 and are set to wind down at the Ford Chennai Assembly Plant in Q2 of this year. Ford will import and sell some of its more iconic models in India moving forward, but its decision to stop building vehicles there has had a number of rippling effects as the automaker seeks to find a buyer for at least one of those plants.
As Ford Authority reported back in December, Tata Motors and a handful of other automakers expressed early interest in the Ford Chennai Assembly Plant, and now, the former could be on the cusp of closing that deal, according to The Economic Times. Tata is reportedly in the advanced stages of negotiation with Ford to take over the Sanand plant, and is the leading contender among all the companies interesting in purchasing it, a group that also includes MG Motor and Ola.
Tata Motors is reportedly looking to expand its production capacity, which is currently operating at 85 percent. Both it and Ford have already approached government officials in Gujarat to discuss incentives. Meanwhile, The Blue Oval may reportedly keep its Chennai plant and convert it to produce EVs for export. “Ford is exploring the possibility of potentially using a plant in India as an export base for EV manufacturing,” a spokesperson said. “The project is in the exploration stage. With detailed assessment and discussions ongoing, we don’t have anything additional to share at this time.”
Ford’s decision to exit Indian manufacturing has caused quite the stir among workers there, who have protested the decision and sought government job protection, while dealers have also lobbied the government for help after potentially being exposed to liability issues.