Ford Motor on Wednesday stated it was closing its oldest plant in Brazil later in the day as scheduled, with prospects for saving any of the jobs in doubt as talks with a possible buyer have fallen behind schedule.
The plant, located in the industrial suburb of Sao Bernardo do Campo, produced buses and the Fiesta compact car, that didn’t sell well. It employed up to 2,800 workers earlier this year, although it is not clear how many were still working there as of October.
Ford first declared it would close the plant in February, and stated it had failed to find a purchaser. But then the Sao Paulo government intervened and a local automaker, CAOA, showed interest.
CAOA, Ford and the Sao Paulo state government declared in September that they had reached a preliminary deal, but required 45 days to conduct due diligence. That time period has already expired, and neither side has offered an explanation. CAOA refused to comment.
CAOA got its start as a Ford dealership, but entered into manufacturing with a contract with Hyundai and later purchased 50% of Chinese automaker Chery’s operation in Brazil. While Brazil is a base for a number of multinational automakers, CAOA is the rare manufacturer to be regionally owned.