In a surprise move, Ford Motor Company has halted the sale of its Chennai plant – its only remaining plant in India – to the JSW Group. Ford pulling out of the 100 million USD deal has led to speculation that perhaps the automobile giant plans to retain a manufacturing presence in India after all, reports say. JSW, in a joint venture with SAIC Motors, already has a 35% stake .
According to the Economic Times, Ford had decided to shut down its plant in Maraimalai Nagar after the losses that hit the passenger vehicle industry during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Business Standard reports that Ford India would have to pay Rs 1,296 crores as severance packages, benefiting 2,592 employees. The paper also says that the Chennai plant that has been shut since July 2022 has a production capacity of 2,00,000 cars spread across three shifts. As per Times of India, Ford lost nearly 2 billion USD in operating costs in the last 10 years.
The only comment that Ford has reportedly offered so far on the matter is, “We continue to explore alternatives for our manufacturing facility in Chennai and have nothing further to share.”