Ford Motor Co. and Volkswagen AG officials expect the dissolution of their joint venture in Brazil and Argentina to go smoothly.
VW and Ford confirmed last week that Autolatina SA, Latin America's largest automaker, will be dissolved within a year.
Autolatina operates eight assembly and component plants and employs 65,000.
Ford spokesman Peter Olsen says the plan is for most of the plants to go back to the original owners before the joint venture was formed. 'There is enough differentiation in most plants that it probably won't be a problem,' Olsen says.
The only exception may be a former Ford-owned transmission and axle plant in Argentina that Olsen says may stay with VW.
Both companies also named key personnel appointments in Brazil and Argentina once the separation is complete.
'We believe that Ford will be better able to compete effectively in these two markets by operating on its own,' said Wayne Booker, executive vice president, Ford's International Automotive Operations.
Autolatina was founded in 1987 in response to difficult market and economic conditions.
'We are sure that Volkswagen will be stronger after the separation and consumers, employees, dealers and suppliers will benefit from this decision,' said Volkswagen AG's J. Ignacio Lopez, who is president of the Advisory Board of Autolatina.
Both companies began showing their independence about five months ago when VW said it would not share its all-new Gol subcompact with Ford in Latin America, and Ford countered by expediting plans to build a new Fiesta in Brazil.
The venture is 51 percent owned by VW and 49 percent by Ford.
VW built 459,476 cars in Brazil last year to Ford's 213,127.
A Volkswagen source says VW will begin exporting 60,000 to 70,000 of its German-made Passat and Golfs to Brazil.
Staff Reporter Diana T. Kurylko contributed to this report.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------AUTOLATINA'A LIKELY PROPERLY SETTLEMENT
WHAT FORD GETS:
Country Plant Current production
Brazil S.B.C. Escort; car-derived Pampa pickup
Brazil Ipiranga truck Ford Cargo, F series; VW trucks
Brazil Taubate Engines, transmissions
Argentina Pacheco car Ford Sierra, Escort; VW cars
WHAT VW GETS:
Brazil Anchieta Ford Versailles; all VW cars
Brazil Taubate car VW cars
Argentina Pacheco truck F series
Argentina Transax Transmissions, axles