By on February 20, 2019

Image: ford

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.”

Image: ford

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]

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34 Comments on “As Ford Starts Trimming Down South, a Familiar-looking Truck Will Have to Die...”


  • avatar

    The Hackett the Hatchet-man sure knows how to trim product lines, unfortunately he is not so good at creating them.

    How long is this farce going to last?

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “South America was a money sinkhole for Ford last year”

    I recall about ten years ago that South America was supposed to be the next big thing because of BRICS etc. but in the period both my former and current employer (completely different industries) have taken baths on it.

  • avatar
    bullnuke

    I’m not sure who currently makes the diesel engine for the Brazilian Ford’s but several years ago the Brazilian SuperDuty was powered by…Cummins.

  • avatar
    NoID

    I’m a bit confused, is Ford exiting the heavy commercial truck market only in Brazil, South America, NAFTA, or globally? The article focuses on trimming production in Brazil but seems to indicate Ford exiting the market completely.

    • 0 avatar
      NoID

      Nevermind, the AN article was more specific. No more heavy commercial Fords for South America.

    • 0 avatar
      Ce he sin

      South America initially. Ford also do trucks in Turkey and were recently talking about expanding from there to Europe, having exited that market (by selling to Iveco) in the 1990s. But that was then. The use of the pruning knife in recent weeks might see an end to that too.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        ” the pruning knife”

        This was all predicted over ten years ago, that the market would shake itself out and that excess capacity would be pared down.

        Now we’re here, and the slicing and dicing has finally begun.

        The previous two administrations didn’t give a hoot about jobs leaving America, and the current administration advocates bringing manufacturing back to the US, plus reducing tariffs on American exports.

        Let’s hope this results in more exports of US-made Ford trucks to the world.

        • 0 avatar
          Ce he sin

          Well, as I don’t live in America I’m afraid I don’t care one way or the other about what may or may not be exported from there. However Ford say they’re exiting the truck business in South America rather than continuing with product from elsewhere. As for Ford Turkey, the vehicles they make are not made in North America so a closure of Ford in Turkey (which is a JV which would rather complicate things) is unlikely to see the near Asian market being supplied by a high cost producer a long way away.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            “I don’t care one way or the other about what may or may not be exported from there”

            Well, that’s the core issue of the current trade negotiations, which, in turn, drive the expansion or contraction of the global auto industry.

      • 0 avatar
        WallMeerkat

        It was the early 1980s that Ford Europe exited the truck market, even with the brilliant Cargo.

        Sold to Iveco but for a number of years they were badged as Iveco-Ford.

        Dodge trucks Europe around the same time was sold to Renault who then sold their truck division to Volvo trucks (who are now unrelated to Volvo cars)

  • avatar
    Mike-NB2

    Is it wrong to covet the truck in the photos? It doesn’t help to learn that it has a four cylinder diesel and five speed manual.

    • 0 avatar
      Hydromatic

      I’ve actually got a hankering for such an oddball truck. Probably won’t get where you’re going in a hurry, but you’ll have something to talk about when you get there.

  • avatar
    brn

    Brazil is a terrible place to do business. More protectionism in Brazil than people know. Ford likely got tired of fighting it.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      And the United States wants more protectionism.

      Anyone who has the least education in economics knows that protectionism is very costly. In other words, protecting an individual industry might help that segment, but will have more costs than benefits for business in general outside of that industry.

      This is one of those cases where it’s better to just let the market do its thing. Markets don’t always work, but markets are a lot smarter than the Trump administration.

  • avatar
    wayneoh

    I can’t understand why anyone reading TTAC gives two hoots about a Brazilian Ford Superduty being discontinued.
    I’d be more interested to know why almost very Honda Ridgeline sold over the past three years is being recalled over a fire hazard and not a peep on TTAC.
    If it was a GM, a Ford or FCA vehicle, would it be warrant an article ?
    I’d bet it would.

  • avatar
    wayneoh

    Well darn,I was looking around trying to find an article on the over 400,000 Hondas recalled earlier this month over fuel pump issues causing possible stalling and couldn’t find anything there either.
    Again, if it was a GM, Ford or FCA recall, I’d bet we’d have an article.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Wayne, you can Google (I use DuckDuckGo) the topic that you want and a bunch of matches will pop up.

      • 0 avatar
        wayneoh

        Yes, I found articles elsewhere, that’s how I heard about it, but nothing on TTAC.
        I usually only get over here a couple times a week but I try to catch up every time I do. I may have missed it though. Steph is pretty good at covering the Ford recalls so perhaps the Honda ones are covered and I missed them.
        If so, I apologize.

  • avatar
    WallMeerkat

    Ford under Hackett are increasingly a finance and pension company for which the manufacture of vehicles is an annoying side venture for them.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    “Ford Starts Trimming Down South…” You should’ve just said they’re getting a Brazilian.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    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.


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