Goodbye India: Ford Dealers, Employees Left In The Lurch

New Delhi: Ford India’s unexpected announcement to shut operations in India has left dealers and their employees a distressed lot.

Take the case of, for instance, the automaker’s oldest dealership of Harpreet Ford in Delhi’s Moti Nagar area.

There are only a few salesmen around, and there is no rush to attend to anyone walking through the door unlike in the past.

Jitender Sadana, a sales representative at the dealership, said some of his colleagues were talking to the HR about their future while others have managed to line up interviews at other places.

“People have families to feed and so they are anxious,” Jitender was quoted as saying by The Indian Express.

On his part, Executive Director of Harpreet Ford Sunil Tandon said there will be layoffs. At the same time, Tandon said they will try to absorb as many staffers as possible in the multiple dealership outlets they have with other carmakers.

He, however, admitted that the going will be tough for smaller dealerships.

According to the Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations (FADA), a body representing 15,000 automobile dealers, there are around 170 Ford dealers in India with 391 outlets.

As a result, Ford’s decision to close shop in the country will impact over 40,000 dealership employees. That is 10 times the number (approximately 4,000 Ford India factory employees) that the US automaker says will be hit by shutting down of its manufacturing plants in India.

FADA CEO Saharsh Damani said the body is already flooded with distress calls from worried dealers.

“This will impact dealers, dealership employees and their families. Outside auto retail, component manufacturers who supply Ford in Gujarat and Tamil Nadu will feel the impact,” Damani told The Indian Express.

Damani also criticised Ford’s announcement that the company will continue service support. “Once you stop India operations, then there is a big question mark. Companies leaving India say such things, but it does not work in the long run because there are spare parts issues, manpower issues, and then many dealers will not want to continue,” he added.

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