Ford rolls out last vehicle from Tamil Nadu manufacturing unit – ET Auto

Automaker Ford has rolled out the last car from its Tamil Nadu manufacturing plant, which will be shut down this month as part of a restructuring exercise. The facility at Maraimalai Nagar about 45 km from Chennai, was up and running for more than 25 years, and is facing closure as the Indian subsidiary would be shutting down operations at its facilities in Sanand, Gujarat and Maraimalai Nagar, Tamil Nadu, “as part of a restructuring exercise” of Ford India.

Tata Motors had announced the signing of a tripartite agreement with Ford and the Gujarat government to acquire the American auto major’s vehicle manufacturing unit in Sanand.

The Chennai factory is on the verge of closure as discussions for taking over the facility by another automaker are yet to materialise.

On Wednesday, videos and images surfaced on social media of a white colour Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) ‘EcoSport’, one of Ford’s popular models, decorated with flowers, was seen rolling out from the assembly line as employees were seen standing adjacent to it at the factory.

The SUV was the last to be rolled out from the assembly line and the company would continue production of aftersales parts till month-end, a company official said on Thursday.

“Yes, the last vehicle from the export commitments rolled out of the final assembly yesterday (Wednesday) whereas the rest of the work related to aftersales, parts and sub-assemblies continue at the Chennai plant,” a company spokesperson told PTI on Thursday.

The news about the closure of the plant did not augur well with the representatives of the Chennai Ford Employees Union who resorted to protests in 2021 soon after the company announced its decision to close down the manufacturing facilities in Gujarat and Tamil Nadu.

The employees once again resumed their protests in May this year seeking a better severance package.

“…the company remains committed to achieving a fair and balanced outcome on the severance package and has been in continuous discussions with the Union. The company had increased the equivalent average days in the severance package to average 121 days,” the spokesperson said.

“The cumulative amounts for severance components remain subject to a minimum amount of Rs 30 lakh and a maximum cap of Rs 80 lakh,” he added.

Ford has shelved plans to manufacture electric vehicles in India for exports despite getting approval from the government for production-linked incentives.

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Ford plans to invest over USD 50 billion in EVs through 2026, targeting total company adjusted EBIT margins of 10% and 8% EBIT margins for EVs by 2026.

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