Ford Philippines to close Sta. Rosa factory in December
Ford Philippines on Wednesday said it will discontinue manufacturing operations in its Santa Rosa, Laguna, factory starting next year, citing supply and operational efficiencies as main reasons.
Ford to shut down PHL plant. Ford vehicles are displayed at a showroom in Manila on Thursday. Ford Motor Co. said it will close its assembly plant in Sta. Rosa, Laguna this year as part of regional restructuring. The PHL market will be served by imports from other Ford plants around the world, including Thailand. Reuters/Cheryl Ravelo
"Effective December this year, we would cease our manufacturing operations at our Santa Rosa, Laguna, plant after we rolled out the last assembly of Ford Escape," Peter Fleet, Ford Asean president, told reporters in a press briefing in Makati City.
"The lack of supply base and economies of scale are the major issues in coming up with this very difficult decision," said Fleet.
The car maker is the only car exporter in the Philippines.
The company explored possibilities of bringing a number of different products that might click with the Philippine market, but the two major reasons cited convinced them to stop operations, said Fleet.
"This is a very difficult decision,” said Randy Krieger, Ford Philippines president.
“The company studied every possible scenario and opportunity but we could not make a strong enough business case for future manufacturing," Krieger noted.
"We are extremely proud of the world-class vehicles assembled in our Santa. Rosa, Laguna, plant and our exceptional team, and we will provide them with all the support they need to help them through this transition," Krieger added.
Around 250 employees will be affected by the decision.
Krieger said employees who would be displaced may work at any Ford factory overseas.
"But this depends on their choices, if they want to go with us," Fleet said.
However, the dealerships would continue operating and selling imported cars.
The sales network of Ford in the country would be maintained and even expanded. "From 20 dealerships, we will make it 40 by 2015," said Fleet.
He clarified that the decision was based on purely business and economic reasons. "I just want to point out that this business decision has nothing to do with any government policy or lack of government support for us," Fleet said.
Ford remains committed to growing its business and serving customers through its national sales company, the Ford Group Philippines, Fleet claimed.
Backing up his claim, Fleet said the commitment would reflect on the eight all-new One Ford vehicles to be introduced by 2015.
Among the new models to be introduced starting this year are Ford Ranger, Focus, and Mustang this year.
With this stoppage in operations by December, there will be no participant in the country's car export program. Ford is currently the lone participant in the program.
Once the Santa Rosa plant is shuttered, Ford’s national sales headquarters may also be relocated. No specific place has yet been decided on by the company.
The Santa Rosa factory, which sits on a 21.4-hectare lot, has a yearly capacity output of 36,000 units.
Since 2002, Ford has been the first and only volume exporter of completely built units.
With cumulative exports of over 80,000 units valued at $1 billion, the shipments were mainly for Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia. —VS, GMA News
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