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Ford’s Shuttered India Factories May Be Reborn in EV Push

The U.S. automaker walked away from India last year after racking up billions in losses. Now its plants may get a new lease of life. 

Ford’s Tamil Nadu factory in better days.

Ford’s Tamil Nadu factory in better days.

Photographer: Kuni Takahashi

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It’s been seven months since Ford decided to shut its factories in India, taking a $2 billion charge for the retreat. The decision was unsurprising: contrary to Ford’s expectation in 2012 that the nation’s burgeoning middle class would propel it to one of the company’s top three markets by 2020, its market share had slumped to less than 1.5% by the time it decided to pull the pin.

In between, Ford invested heavily in two factories near the southern and western coasts of India, manufacturing cars and SUVs for both the domestic market and export. But it racked up losses of more than $2 billion in a decade, unable to crack a price-conscious market dominated by cheap cars and two-wheelers.