(Adds background, including past production halts)
SAO PAULO Dec 20 Ford Motor Co halted
auto production in Venezuela last week and will not resume it
until April, a company executive said on Tuesday, in another
blow to the crisis-wracked country's manufacturing sector.
"It is a measure to adjust production to demand in the
country," Lyle Watters, Ford's president for South America, told
reporters at an event in São Paulo, adding that the plant
affected by the shutdown employs 2,000 workers.
Watters said the production freeze would not affect Ford's
consolidated results as operations in Venezuela are reported
separately. Beginning in the first quarter of this year,
Venezuela became the only wholly owned Ford unit with operating
results that are excluded from the full company's income
In January 2015, Ford took a charge related to its
Venezuelan operations that cut fourth-quarter net profit by $700
million. Ford is the only automaker still mass producing cars in
Venezuela, even on a limited scale.
Vehicle production in recession-hit Venezuela is less than 8
cars a day, according to figures provided by the national
automakers organization Cavenez. Ford produced 2,253 units out
of a paltry national total of 2,768 in the year through
It takes less than two days for Ford at one of its larger
U.S. plants to make as many vehicles as the company has made in
Venezuela so far in 2016.
Ford in 2014 halted production for about a month due to a
lack of foreign currency to import parts for assembly.
In mid-2015, Ford's major U.S. rival, General Motors Co
, stopped making vehicles in Venezuela altogether. GM had
one plant in Venezuela.
(Reporting by Alberto Alerigi and additional reporting by
Andrew Cawthorne in Caracas, writing by Ana Mano; Editing by Tom
Brown and Alistair Bell)