Bolsonaro says Ford ending Brazilian operations due to end of subsidies

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro speaks during a ceremony at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil January 12, 2021. REUTERS/Adriano Machado

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro on Tuesday attributed Ford Motor Co.’s decision to close its three plants in Brazil to the end of multibillion-dollar subsidies from the government.

“What does Ford want? Ford has yet to tell the truth, right? They want subsidies,” Bolsonaro said during a talk with supporters recorded on video and published on social media.

Bolsonaro criticized the decision of past administrations to subsidize the industry with taxpayer money and lamented the loss of 5,000 jobs in the country.

Ford did not immediately reply to a request for comment on Bolsonaro’s remarks.

On Monday, Ford said it would close its plants in Brazil this year, two of them immediately, and take pretax charges of about $4.1 billion as the COVID-19 pandemic amplified the company’s underutilization of its manufacturing capacity.

Ford officials said the action was part of the $11 billion global restructuring previously forecast by the U.S. automaker.

Reporting by Ricardo Brito; writing by Sabrina Valle; editing by Jonathan Oatis