Ford to exit two countries this year

Beijing/Tokyo, January 25

Automaker Ford Motor Co said today it will close all operations in Japan and Indonesia this year as it sees ‘no reasonable path to profitability’ in the two countries where it has struggled to gain market share.

Ford will exit all areas of business, including shuttering dealerships and stopping sales and imports of Ford and Lincoln vehicles, as per an e-mail from Asia Pacific President Dave Schoch to all staff in region. Product development carried out in Japan will be shifted elsewhere.

“Unfortunately, this also means that our team members based in Japan and Indonesia will no longer work for Ford Japan or Ford Indonesia following the closures,” Schoch wrote in an e-mail regarding the decision that was sent to employees today.

Ford, one of Detroit’s ‘big three’ automakers, follows in the footsteps of General Motors Co, which last year decided to stop making GM-branded cars in Indonesia — with the loss of 500 jobs — amid intense competition from Japanese rivals.

Ford began operating in Japan in 1974 and has 52 dealerships in the country, employing 292 people. Last year, it sold around 5,000 vehicles in Japan and held a share of around 1.5 per cent of imported new car market.

In Indonesia, where it entered in 2002, Ford has a staff of 35 and sells through 44 dealerships. Last year, it sold around 6,000 vehicles, taking a 0.6 per cent share of the total new car market.