Ford India have two manufacturing plants in the country – one in Chennai, Tamil Nadu and the other in Sanand, Gujarat
When US carmaker Ford quit India operations last year, it left a jolt on the Indian automobile industry. More than anyone else, workers under the payroll of the automaker and dealership network have had to face the brunt. Livelihood of almost 40,000 families has been affected by Ford pulling the plug in the country.
However, there seems to be some light beyond the tunnel as latest reports suggest that Tata Motors is all set to acquire the American carmaker manufacturing facility near Sanad in Gujarat. ET Auto reported today that the deal to transfer Ford India plant to Tata Motors is likely to get finalized next week. At the Sanand plant, Ford India used to manufacture Figo, Freestyle and Aspire.
Tata Motors New Plant
It is to be noted that Tata Motors also has a plant in Sanand. In fact. Tata and Ford plants are next to each other in Sanand, as can be seen in the Google Maps photo below. From Sanad plant, Tata Motors manufactures Tiago and Tigor. The plant was earlier known as Nano plant, as it was specifically developed to manufacture Tata Nano.
Ever since Ford announced its exit from India, it has been speculated that the Tata Group is looking to take over their manufacturing plant. The planned takeover will certainly provide some relief to thousands of employees, who were staring at uncertainty after the US automaker announced its decision to leave the Indian market. It will also help Tata increase car production, as their sales have increased drastically recently.
Earlier, it was reported that Tata Motors was in talks to take over the Chennai plant of Ford India. Photo of Tata Group Chairman meeting the CM of Tamil Nadu had been shared on the internet, fueling the speculations further. It has been learnt that Tamil Nadu CM, in his bid to woo new investments into the state, had requested the Tata Group Chairman to consider picking up Ford’s unit. The meeting was also attended by Industries Minister Thangam Thennarasu and Chief Secretary V Irai Anbu.
Ford India Manufacturing Plants
Spread over a total of 350 acres in Maraimalai Nagar, 45 km from Chennai, the integrated manufacturing facility had an annual production capacity of 200,000 vehicles and 340,000 engines. At the Chennai plant, SUVs like EcoSport and Endeavour were manufactured; in addition to engines.
Ford also operated through its second production facility in Sanand, Gujarat which manufactured Figo, Freestyle and Aspire. The American carmaker invested a total of around USD 2.5 billion in both these facilities. Both these plants weren’t utilised to their fullest capacity at any point in time. This is a major reason cited by industry experts for Ford’s continuous and ever-growing loss in India.
Not only for workers under Ford’s payroll but it has created significant challenges for its dealers as well. Several Ford dealerships across the country have been utilizing their premises by showcasing brands from other models such as Maruti Suzuki and Mahindra. Recently, TM Anbarasan, Minister for Rural Industries had expressed confidence about the state reaching a settlement package with the employees of Ford.