Global Economics

Foreign carmakers attracted in Ford plant in India – state minister

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Foreign automakers have expressed interest to the government of India’s Tamil Nadu state in purchasing Ford Motor (NYSE: F) Co’s plant there, according to the state industries minister, following inconclusive talks with the Tata Group.

Ford announced plans to end production in India in September, citing a lack of a profitable path there. The carmaker expects to close its vehicle and engine manufacturing plant in Tamil Nadu by 2022. “Early-stage talks are going on,” Thangam Thennarasu, industries minister of Tamil Nadu told Reuters, adding that he could not give details of which firms were interested.

“It is eventually up to Ford as it will be a commercial arrangement. We are merely facilitating talks between the companies,” he said. Thennarasu said the Tata Group had also shown an interest in buying the Ford plant, having met the state’s chief minister and visited the plant for a preliminary study but the state government had yet to hear from them about any deal. “It is now up to them to make an official announcement,” Thennarasu told Reuters in an interview on Thursday.

Ford India announced in September that operations at a second factory in Gujarat state would cease by the fourth quarter of 2021, and vehicle and engine production at the Tamil Nadu plant would cease by 2022.According to data intelligence firm Global Data, Ford has the capacity to produce approximately 440,000 cars in India per year across both plants but is only using about 25% of that capacity.