As Ford Starts Trimming Down South, a Familiar-looking Truck Will Have to Die

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Ford’s attempt at streamlining its global business is already well underway in Europe and the United States, but those regions aren’t the only locales to see cuts. Announced Tuesday, Ford Motor Company will bring the axe down in South America.

Brazil, once home to Henry Ford’s utopian rubber town, stands to lose local production of three vehicles, including two truck models that look oddly familiar. Almost like something the author’s neighbor drives. Also in Ford’s plan: the scrapping of its heavy commercial trucks.

The F-4000 joins the F-350 and dead-in-America Fiesta on the Brazilian chopping block, with the automaker claiming its São Bernardo do Campo plant will cease producing vehicles this year. Whether it will ever restart remains an unanswered question. With the plant’s shuttering comes the death of the Ford Cargo series of cab-over-engine commercial trucks.

South America was a money sinkhole for Ford last year, and the company claims that efforts to save the truck business proved fruitless.

“The decision to exit the heavy commercial trucks business came after months of pursuing viable alternatives, including possible partnerships and a sale of the operation,” the automaker said in a media release. “The business would have required significant capital investments to meet market needs and increasing regulatory costs with no viable path to profitability.”

As the São Bernardo do Campo plant employs roughly 2,800 workers, Ford expects “a significant impact to jobs,” a spokesperson told Automotive News.

The Blue Oval’s $11 billion cost-cutting plan yielded a 20-percent reduction in salary and administration costs in the region over the “past few months,” the company said. Tuesday’s announcement carries special item charges of about $460 million (the bulk of which will cover severance payments to employees, dealers, and suppliers).

Despite the cuts, Ford says it isn’t giving up on South American sales.

“Ford is committed to the South American region by building a sustainable and profitable business with strengthened product offerings, outstanding customer experience, and a leaner more agile business model,” said Ford of South America president Lyle Watters in a statement.

If you thought the F-350 pictured above looks a little old, it should. It, like the dual-rear-wheel F-4000, is a first-generation Super Duty, only with a less-than-super powertrain. The sole engine offering in these chassis cab trucks is a 2.8-liter inline-four diesel, good for 148 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque. Drivers, perched on a spacious split bench, manage all of that grunt through a five-speed manual with pry bar shifter, taking the truck to a theoretical top speed of 72 miles per hour.

[Images: Ford]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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3 of 34 comments
  • DenverMike DenverMike on Feb 21, 2019

    "Ford Starts Trimming Down South..." You should've just said they're getting a Brazilian.

  • Dukeisduke Dukeisduke on Feb 21, 2019

    In the US, Ford has been in and out of the medium duty truck business. They sold it at one time to Sterling, but then got back into that business.

  • Calrson Fan Jeff - Agree with what you said. I think currently an EV pick-up could work in a commercial/fleet application. As someone on this site stated, w/current tech. battery vehicles just do not scale well. EBFlex - No one wanted to hate the Cyber Truck more than me but I can't ignore all the new technology and innovative thinking that went into it. There is a lot I like about it. GM, Ford & Ram should incorporate some it's design cues into their ICE trucks.
  • Michael S6 Very confusing if the move is permanent or temporary.
  • Jrhurren Worked in Detroit 18 years, live 20 minutes away. Ren Cen is a gem, but a very terrible design inside. I’m surprised GM stuck it out as long as they did there.
  • Carson D I thought that this was going to be a comparison of BFGoodrich's different truck tires.
  • Tassos Jong-iL North Korea is saving pokemon cards and amibos to buy GM in 10 years, we hope.