Ford is to invest £230 million in its Halewood factory to support the marque’s move to an all-electrified model range.
The Merseyside plant will become the brand’s first EV component assembly site in Europe, safeguarding hundreds of jobs at the factory which currently builds transmissions for traditional petrol and diesel vehicles.
Ford said the plant would be “transformed” to build electric power units for passenger and commercial vehicles sold around Europe.
Powertrain production is due to start in 2024 and eventually the factory will build 250,000 units per year. Ford said the Halewood site had been chosen as the base for European powertrain production due to “its excellent record on quality, competitiveness and the strong skills base and commitment of the employees”.
The powertrain plant will support Ford’s factory in Cologne, which is to see a $1 billion investment to make it capable of producing the brand’s planned range of new EVs.
Ford has committed to making all of its new passenger vehicles and two thirds of its commercial vehicles all-electric or plug-in hybrid by 2030. It already sells the Mustang Mach-e EV along with PHEV versions of the Kuga, Transit and Tourneo, with an all-electric Transit coming in 2022.
The investment in Halewood is subject to and includes Government support through its Automotive Transformation Fund.
Stuart Rowley, president of Ford of Europe, said: “This is an important step, marking Ford’s first in-house investment in all-electric vehicle component manufacturing in Europe.
“It strengthens further our ability to deliver 100% of Ford passenger vehicles in Europe being all-electric and two-thirds of our commercial vehicle sales being all-electric or plug-in hybrid by 2030.”
“We also want to thank the UK Government for its support for this important investment at Halewood which reconfirms Ford’s continuing commitment to the U.K. and our position as a leading investor in this country’s auto industry and technological base.”
Kevin Pearson, Unite union convenor for Halewood, added: “We’re delighted the company has decided to make this important investment at Halewood, helping to safeguard Ford jobs at the site into the future.
“The decision 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.”