It was recently reported on our sister site, GM Authority, that General Motors was forced to lay-off a staggering 13 percent of its workers in Venezuela two weeks ago, as hard currency becomes scarce, leaving the automaker unable to acquire sufficient parts.
But as Reuters reports, GM isn’t alone in their struggle; for the past two weeks or so, Ford production at the Valencia Assembly plant in Venezuela has been completely halted. The company wrestles with the possibility of having to dismiss as many as 267 workers (to GM’s 446).
At the heart of the slowdown forcing the cessation of Ford production is tumbling oil prices; Venezuela’s national currency controls have consequently reduced dollar outlays, making it difficult for automakers to import parts. Granted, the issue isn’t restricted just to American automakers, either; companies like Fiat, Toyota, Mitsubishi, and others – who also maintain plants in Venezuela – are experiencing similar impediments to production.
As a result of all this, vehicle assembly in the country through the first quarter was down 79 percent compared to the same period last year. It’s uncertain at this point whether Ford production will be able to resume any time soon without substantial lay-offs – nor whether that would necessarily be sufficient to allow Ford’s Valencia Assembly to ramp-up production again.