Ford is to pull out of the Japanese and Indonesian new car markets, blaming tough conditions and the closed economies of both car markets that favour domestic brands.
It won’t make a huge difference to Ford’s global sales: in 2015, it sold just 6,100 cars in Indonesia, and a mere 5,000 in Japan. But the signal it sends for a global maker to withdraw from a key market such as Japan is significant.
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A staggering 5 million vehicles were sold in Japan during 2015 – but imported vehicles formed just 6.5% of that total.
Ford says sales in Japan accounted for just 0.15% of its overall global volume.
The blue oval will now withdraw from both markets by the end of 2016, with around 300 jobs in Japan now in question – although fewer than 50 in Indonesia are reportedly at risk.
“Japan is the most closed, developed auto economy in the world, with all imported brands accounting for less than 6% of Japan’s annual new car market,” said Ford spokesman Neal McCarthy.
Even the looming agreement of the 12-nation Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement won’t alter Ford’s fortunes in Japan, hence the brand’s withdrawal.