Ford Offering Buyouts to Workers in Venezuela

December 06, 2018 at 9:47 AM

Ford Motor Co. is moving closer to shutting down production in Venezuela by offering severance payments to much of its remaining workforce there.

The offers start at 70,000 bolivares (about $150) per year worked, according to media reports. Ford’s Valencia plant, which once assembled as many as 17,000 vehicles per year, currently is producing Fiesta small cars and Explorer SUVs at a combined rate of a few dozen per month.

Union officials tell Reuters that the factory’s output plunged 50% to only 220 vehicles this year and has attracted no orders for 2019.

One union leader tells Bloomberg that Ford still employs 900 workers in Venezuela, two-thirds of which have already been laid off because of slumping sales. General Motors C. stopped production in the country in 2016 and abandoned the market when its plant in Valencia was seized last year.

Venezuela’s auto industry has been crippled over the past three years by the country’s hyperinflation and government policies that severely limit access to hard currency with which to buy components for assembly. Ford has been trying to raise cash for years by offering customers the ability to buy vehicles with a mix of bolivares and dollars.