According to the facility’s workers, the No.2 US automaker, Ford, has decided to suspend vehicle assembly in the South American country as the lack of foreign currency prevents the plant from importing its necessary supply of automotive parts.
The workers, which reported the production stoppage under condition of anonymity, have also said the stint is expected to last until the month’s end at least. Transport Minister Haiman El Troudi officially confirmed the plant stoppage but added that production should resume faster as government officials and Ford executives met to discuss and resolve “critical bottlenecks.” The minister disclosed that state currency board Cencoez is to release this week a debt of $20 million owed to Ford.
While Ford only managed to assemble 499 cars in the year’s first quarter, it hasn’t been the only carmaker hit by the problem, with Toyota stopping local production in February for the same reason.
National automakers’ organization Cavenez reported that first quarter car production in Venezueal tumbled by 76% to just 3,424 units, as opposed to the same period of 2013 when 14,316 cars were built.
Private businesses in Venezuela have been hit by the socialist government’s currency controls, which, due to restriction and delays in purchasing dollars, prevents them from importing critical goods.