In Chennai, where one of Ford’s two Indian plants is located, entire communities have evolved around the facility, generating thousands of indirect jobs.
Thousands of employees — both at Ford Motor Co. and several businesses dedicated to the carmaker — face an uncertain future after the global company unexpectedly decided to call time on its Indian operations Thursday, joining a swelling list of American automotive icons to exit the country.
Ford has about 170 dealer partners in India and they collectively operate about 400 showrooms, employing thousands of people across sales and after-sales service lines, data from the Federation of Automobile Dealers’ Association (FADA) showed. Some of these dealers joined the Ford family as late as five months ago and Thursday’s sudden exit jeopardises the investments they made in setting up the showrooms that cost crores of rupees. In fact, dealers have already started trimming their rolls after Ford’s announcement.
Similarly, industry groups representing interests of MSMEs said Ford’s exit would impact many small suppliers, with thousands of direct and indirect jobs would be on the line.
Ford’s exit is the third in four years by an American automotive company after General Motors and Harley Davidson.
“It is not Ford that is closing but more than 4,000 SMEs are closing,” said KE Raghunathan, convenor of the Consortium of Indian Associations.
In Chennai, where one of Ford’s two Indian plants is located, entire communities have evolved around the facility, generating thousands of indirect jobs. To be sure, Ford India told ET that it has a plan to ensure continued viable business for its dealers through service, warranty and parts sales.
“Within the next 60 days, we will arrive at the principles for the transition of their business from sales and service to parts and service support and will hold individual discussions with each one to finalise details specific to their business,” a Ford spokesperson told ET in an emailed response.
Dealers are estimated to also hold an inventory of about 1,000 vehicles, costing an estimated ₹150 crore.