The company has an export commitment of about 30,000 units which has to be completed by the end of this calendar year. The workers’ union has also asked for a meeting with the top officials of Ford Motor Company involved in the decision of closing down three of the four plants in India.
“Production at the Chennai plant is going on as per schedule. The per day count of vehicles rolled out would differ as it depends on the production schedule,” the workers’ union official said on the condition of anonymity.
“The company has to export about 30,000 cars by the end of this year. So, the management has cajoled the workers to restart production while holding talks relating to the plant closure,” another worker said.
A day before the Ganesh Chaturthi festival on September 9, Ford India announced that it will wind down vehicle assembly in Sanand by the fourth quarter of 2021, and vehicle and engine manufacturing in Chennai by the second quarter of 2022.
Ford India has four plants in the country — vehicle and engine plants in Chennai and Sanand.
The company makes the EcoSport models at Chennai, while Figo and Aspire models are made at Sanand. Ford India’s Chennai plant is the sole manufacturer of the Ecosport model sold in the US; and the Aspire and Figo models sold in Mexico and South Africa.
Earlier Ford India used to make Endeavour models at Chennai but it stopped production recently.
Meanwhile the management and the worker union had two rounds of discussions on the plant closure.
The workers have insisted on job security but are also alive to the situation that the management can stop sourcing components, stop production and close the plant.
Ford India’s Chennai plant has about 2,700 associates (permanent workers) and about 600 staff.
“In Sanand, the number of workers will be about 2,000,” Sanand workers’ union General Secretary Nayan Kateshiya said.
Ford India had said more than 500 employees at the Sanand engine plant, which produces engines for export, and about 100 employees supporting parts distribution and customer service, also will continue to support Ford’s business in India.
According to Ford India, about 4,000 employees are expected to be affected by its decision.