The automotive industry has been witnessing several changes and in those terms, 2019 was a noteworthy year for many major players. Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) was one of them and the company undertook a couple of restructuring activities and entered into strategic partnerships during the year in order to drive growth.
As part of its restructuring activities, Ford exited its commercial heavy truck business in South America at the beginning of this year. The company decided to stop production at its Sao Bernardo do Campo plant in Brazil ending the sales of the Cargo line-up, F-4000, F-350 and the Fiesta small car.
In June, Ford undertook a comprehensive restructuring in Europe, which involved the creation of three new business groups, introduction of three new vehicle nameplates, factory closures and job cuts. The company created three new groups for commercial vehicles, passenger vehicles and imports. It also decided to close some of its factories in the UK, France and Russia.
Ford also entered into a number of partnerships and investments during the year to drive growth. In April, the company made a $500 million equity investment in Rivian and announced a partnership to develop a new battery electric vehicle for Ford using Rivian’s skateboard platform.
One of the most noteworthy partnerships that Ford announced during the year was with Volkswagen. Both companies agreed to work together to develop commercial vans and medium-sized pickups for global markets and later expanded this partnership to include electric and autonomous vehicles. Volkswagen also agreed to invest in the autonomous vehicle technology platform company Argo AI.
In September, Ford announced a partnership with Changan Automobile aimed at developing products and technologies for the Chinese market. A month later, Ford announced a collaboration with Mahindra & Mahindra Limited to create a joint venture that will develop and distribute Ford’s vehicles in India and the vehicles of both companies in high-growth emerging markets worldwide.
It will be worth watching how these investments and strategies pan out for the company over the coming years. Shares of Ford have gained 23% thus far this year.