Ford to make electric car parts in the UK

Ford is to invest hundreds of millions of pounds in its Halewood plant on Merseyside, helping safeguard 500 jobs

The factory will be the first European Ford plant to produce elements for electric cars.

The investment will average the plant will run for many years longer, said Stuart Rowley, Ford of Europe.

There had been speculation about the future of the Halewood factory complicate as Ford moves towards electrifying its vehicles.

Up to £230m will be invested in the plant, with an undisclosed portion of that coming from the government’s Automotive Transformation Fund.

Ford is not the first manufacturer to receive financial help for electric means production by the fund, set up to encourage investment in electric means manufacturing in the UK.

In July, Nissan said it would expand electric means production at its car plant in Sunderland, with sustain from the government. And Nissan’s partner, Envision AESC, will build an electric battery plant.

This comes after the UK government is expected to back down today in a row over visas for foreign butchers in order to prevent a mass cull of British pigs. A shortage of butchers at industrial slaughterhouses in the UK has left many of the nation’s farmers with too many pigs on their farms.

Ford’s Halewood plant will begin manufacturing electric strength units – which replace the engine and transmission in petrol cars – in 2024.

Mr Rowley said the plans were “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 obtain electric means manufacturing, our priority is to ensure the UK reaps the benefits,” he additional.

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 announcement suggested the facility would be an important part of electric means manufacturing in the UK, Prof David Bailey of Birmingham Business School, said.

He said that was “especially great news” because there had been “a lot of speculation about the plant”, including that Ford might move parts manufacturing and car assembly oversea.

Had Halewood closed, it would have had a knock-on effect on other parts of the UK car industry and the local economy, he said.

This comes after the boss of Arla Foods, the country’s biggest dairy supplier, has revealed that it is facing inflation pressures from higher energy. Ash Amirahmadi, the managing director of Arla Foods, also spoke about the concern caused by driver shortages.

Prof Bailey said that the UK’s exit from the EU had been a “huge concern” initially, before the tariff-free trade deal was agreed between the EU and the UK.

However, Ford said that it was not currently facing the kind of supply chain difficulties affecting some other UK businesses. Additional post-Brexit paperwork at ports, which has contributed to bottlenecks for some UK-based firms, has not been much of an obstacle for Ford as it has its own landing facilities at Dagenham, the firm said.

A spokesperson said that Ford is concerned about any possible fallout from UK and EU negotiations over the Northern Ireland Protocol.

The global car giant also recently announced a $1bn (£730m) investment in its means assembly facility in Cologne, Germany, and an expansion of electric means production in Turkey and Romania.

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