Ford said to invest £230m in it’s Halewood plant on Merseyside to make electric car parts, helping safeguard 500 jobs in the UK. The investment will mean the plant will run for many years longer, said Stuart Rowley, president, Ford of Europe.
Government Automotive Transformation Fund
Part of the investment will come from the government’s Automotive Transformation Fund. “We’re really pleased with the support from the UK government,” Mr Rowley said in an interview with the BBC. “We’re not disclosing the exact amount, but it was good support for what is a very significant investment in the UK.” Rowley also noted that the government support was “a part of the decision” to choose to invest in Halewood, “but not the only element”.
Ford’s Halewood plant will begin manufacturing electric power units – which replace the engine and transmission in petrol cars – in 2024. Ford is not the first company to receive financial help for electric vehicle production through the fund, set up to encourage investment in electric vehicle manufacturing in the UK.
In July, Nissan announced an expansion of electric vehicle production at its car plant in Sunderland, which is said to generate 1,650 new jobs. The Japanese carmaker will build its new-generation all-electric model at the site as part of a £1bn investment that will also support thousands of jobs in the supply chain. Nissan’s partner, Envision AESC, will build an electric battery plant.
“our priority is to ensure the UK reaps the benefits”
Ford’s Mr Rowley expressed that the plans are “a huge vote of confidence in [the] workforce”. “Ford has been part of the industrial and social fabric of the UK for many decades,” he said, adding that the plant would be a “very important” part of Ford’s electrification plans in Europe.
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said the Ford decision was “further proof that the UK remains one of the best locations in the world for high-quality automotive manufacturing”. “In this highly competitive, global race to secure electric vehicle manufacturing, our priority is to ensure the UK reaps the benefits,” he added.
Kevin Pearson of the Unite union said the Ford investment “recognises the experience, commitment and competitiveness of our world class workforce and is a great source of pride for all of us working at Halewood Transmission Plant and for the wider community”.
The global car giant also recently announced a $1bn (£730m) investment in its vehicle assembly facility in Cologne, Germany, and an expansion of electric vehicle production in Turkey and Romania.