Ford Motor Co. reportedly expects to announce next month that it will turn over a major portion of its operations in South Africa to a division of Anglo-American Corp. of South Africa.
The company, which has been the leading car manufacturer in that country, has been engaged in negotiations with Amcar, the automotive subsidiary of Anglo-American, for nearly a year to achieve greater "economies of scale" in the depressed South African auto market, Ford officials have said.
A company official said yesterday that Ford is "close" to an agreement with Amcar to take over its car manufacturing plant, which makes about 38,000 cars a year. The proposed agreement, all the details of which have not yet been ironed out, probably would include a "shared management" arrangement in which Amcar would continue to produce models at the factory under Ford's name, the source said.
Some of the details of the agreement were reported yesterday in the Detroit News and have been reported previously in the South African press. The News said yesterday that, under the arrangement, Ford still would build trucks and tractors in South Africa and would keep its dealership network.
Ford spokesman Roland Williams declined to comment on details of the arrangement yesterday, but emphasized that the negotiations with Amcar are not related to the campaign by anti-apartheid activists to pressure U.S. companies to "divest" from South Africa.
"These are business discussions and they are for business reasons," Williams said. "We aren't pulling out of South Africa."
Ford is the leading automotive manufacturer in South Africa, but the auto market is so fragmented that the company accounts for only about 14 percent of sales.