US automaker Ford said Tuesday it was pulling out of the commercial heavy truck business in South America, closing a plant in Brazil employing 2,800 workers that has been operating for half a century.
The decision was made "as part of a comprehensive redesign of its global business," and after it decided that other options, such as partnerships, would not be viable, Ford said in a statement.
The affected factory, in Sao Bernardo do Campo south of the megacity Sao Paulo, makes Cargo-model heavy trucks, F-4000 and F-350 pickup trucks and Ford Fiesta small cars. Ford has been operating the plant since October 1967.
"We know this action will have a major impact on our employees in Sao Bernardo and we will be working closely with all our stakeholders on the next steps," said Ford's South America chief, Lyle Watters.
He said Ford was intent on maintaining a "profitable business" and "a leaner, more agile business model." The company said it was shifting its focus in South America to reduce payroll costs, boost its offering of popular SUVs and pickups, and extend partnerships such as one it announced last month with Volkswagen to jointly develop commercial vans and mid-sized pickups.