Ford is to close its Transit production facility in Southampton, ending more than 100 years of vehicle manufacture in the UK.
Most UK car and van buyers still think of Ford as ‘British’, but even though Ford has been building cars in the UK for over 100 years, they haven’t built a single car in the UK for a decade. And now even white van man’s vehicle of choice - the Ford Transit – is being shipped off to Turkey.
Ford are set to announce the closure of its Transit plant in Southampton – as part of its mission to cut production overcapacity in Europe – and shift all Transit production to their plant in Turkey with the loss of 500 jobs in the UK.
The news that Ford is closing their Southampton factory comes hot on the heels of the news that they are closing their plant in Genk, Belgium, in 2014 and shifting production of the C-Max, Grand C-Max, Galaxy and S-Max off to Germany and Spain as they fight to stem losses of over $1 billion a year in Europe.
It also looks like Ford will be closing its stamping plant at Dagenham – with perhaps as many jobs going there as in Southampton – and cutting back on staff at Bridgend too. In total, job losses could be as high as 1500.
It’s sad to see Ford finally ending all vehicle production in the UK, but times have changed and no company can continue paying for facilities that are no longer profitable, and have no prospect of being so.
But Ford still has a big presence in the UK, with R&D in Essex and engine building in Wales and Dagenham.