Ford will withdraw from the Japanese market. The employees of Ford Japan were informed about it in the morning of January 25, 2016 That news was also revealed on the same day.
According to Ford personnel, the news about their withdrawal was announced at the same time the Ford Japan employees received an email from Ford Japan headquarters. It was a really shocking news. A week before that announcement, I received an invitation from Ford Japan to test drive the Mustang for Australia with right-hand side steering wheel on the fourth week of January. The Mustang with right-hand side steering wheel was originally scheduled to be released in Japan in Summer 2016, but unfortunately, it will no longer be introduced in the Japanese market. Aside from that, a media test driving session for the Explorer Titanium with new twin turbo V6 engine was originally scheduled on February 8, 2016, but it was also cancelled.
According to the statement, the reason for this withdrawal is that they couldn’t establish a stable profit outlook in the Japanese market hereafter, and they couldn’t foresee an ample profit return towards their investment as well. This withdrawal case from a large-scale Japanese market reminds me of the former withdrawal case of of GM Asia Pacific Japan (currently GM Japan) with the Opel business operations. When I asked somebody who knows the reason behind that case, I was told that when GM withdrew Opel, it was brought about by the issues regarding the handling of their stores. However, there are no prior contacts to this case this time, and the Ford chairman also made a comment, which may be different from the information given on Facebook.
According to Ford, they will continue to offer after-sales services, changing of parts, and warranty support to Ford car owners upon contacting their company. However, who will be in charge for that? It hasn’t been decided yet as of now. Since Ford Japan will be gone soon, they have to work on many things for the remaining 11 months this year. However, it is necessary for Ford to sign a contract regarding a new maintenance in charge to continue their services. Well then, until when will this service continue? As for Opel, they are still providing after-sales services to their customers through GM Japan and Yanase, which is also selling cars.
For new cars, on the other hand, some economically stable dealers are hereafter will no longer be extending their help, and even if Ford would want to sign a contract with Ford sales agency, that is least likely to happen, according to some Ford personnel. In other words, Ford will only have to depend on parallel import system for customers to obtain new Ford cars as of the moment.
Ford Japan had marginal increase last year, compared to the relative changes from the previous year. And then this year, Ford will be introducing two cars, including the Explorer Titanium and the Mustang with right-side steering wheel. Out of those models, there’s a certain model that is equipped with a long-awaited V8 engine, including many light materials.
(Translated by Claire Marie Sausora)