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Ford takes exit from Indian auto production

US automaker racked up $2bn in losses over 10 years

Ford is ending production of cars like the Aspire sedan in India.   © Reuters

NEW YORK -- Ford Motor will shut down auto manufacturing in India, the American company said Thursday, cutting its losses after years of struggling to compete in what once looked like a promising market.

Both of the company's assembly plants in India will be shuttered. Production for the Indian market is ending "immediately," and manufacturing for export to other Asian countries will wrap up by mid-2022. Ford said the restructuring will affect about 4,000 employees.

The company will continue making engines there for export, as well as begin importing vehicles like luxury Mustang coupes for sale to Indian consumers.

"We are taking difficult but necessary actions to deliver a sustainably profitable business longer term and allocate our capital to grow and create value in the right areas," CEO Jim Farley said.

Ford had in 2019 announced plans for a joint venture with Mahindra & Mahindra, but negotiations broke down late last year as the two sides failed to reach an accord on terms.

Ford entered India in 1995 in hopes of grabbing a slice of its rapidly growing market. But it was outpaced by local and Japanese carmakers with more of a focus on smaller models.

Only about 50,000 Ford passenger vehicles were sold there in fiscal 2020, less than 2% of the market. The automaker accumulated more than $2 billion in operating losses over the past decade, according to Thursday's announcement.

Ford will record $2 billion in restructuring charges related to the retrenchment, spread out over several years.

General Motors pulled out of the Indian market in 2017, and ended production of vehicles for export there last year.

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