SAO PAULO — Ford Motor Co. plans to transfer truck production to Sao Bernardo from Ipiranga in the first half of next year. Both cities are in the state of Sao Paulo. The automaker earlier said it was looking at moving the plant to Sao Bernardo, where Ford currently has a plant. Ipiranga is highly populated and the plant, which was built in 1953, is Ford's oldest in Brazil.

The move was suggested to improve productivity and competitiveness, Ford officials say, noting the plant builds about 220 pickups and light commercial vehicles each day. When the suggestion to move first was made, employees stopped production in protest. Workers were afraid the automaker was shuttering the plant and moving it to the state of Bahia, where Ford is building its new small car plant (see WAI Update — August, '99, p.3).

In response, Ford created a special committee to analyze the alternatives to improving competitiveness at the Ipiranga plant. “Their conclusion: Moving truck production to Sao Bernardo do Campo will grant more benefits than maintaining the plant at Ipiranga,” says Ford Brazil spokesman Celio Batalha.

“We will now start the discussions regarding the other technical aspects of the transfer.