Ford will be closing their manufacturing sites in Southampton and ford Dagenham bringing to the end a century of the car makers vehicle production in the UK. The closures are expected by mid 2013 and will bring a loss of 1400 jobs. Ford will also close its plant in Genk, Belgium by the end of 2014.
Roger Maddison, national officer for the automotive industry at Unite the union described the planned closures in Britain as "absolutely disgraceful" and meant "all production for the Transit van will move to Turkey.” Following a meeting with Stephen Odell, chairman and chief executive of Ford’s business in Europe, Mr Maddison said "Ford has closed 16 sites down in 14 years. The UK is Ford's biggest car market in Europe and yet we're not going to be making vehicles here." He added "the Transit van is associated with the 'white van man' tradesmen in Britain and is iconic, like London's black cabs, and it will be sad to see it go."
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said the closures in Southampton and Dagenham were "difficult and disappointing" for all the people and families involved. Paul Everitt, chief executive of the trade body, said "these are difficult times for the European automotive industry as manufacturers adapt to new market conditions and changing patterns of global demand."
In a statement on Wednesday Mr Odell said the Europe-wide review was necessary for the company’s future. “The proposed restructuring of our European manufacturing operations is a fundamental part of our plan to strengthen Ford’s business in Europe and to return to profitable growth,” he said.
The company said its manufacturing consolidation plans were driven by a more than 20% fall in total vehicle demand in Western Europe since 2007. It expects its European business to make losses of more than $1.5bn for the full year in 2012.
By Geraldine Ashton Green
Mon, 29 Oct 2012