Ford in talks over huge investment in its Merseyside transmissions plant
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Auto giant Ford is considering investing hundreds of millions of pounds into its Halewood site in Knowsley to build a new generation of electric transmission systems which would guarantee at least 500 jobs there.
The site is competing with a Ford factory in Germany for the investment and a decision is expected within weeks, according to Sky News.
Ford is switching to all-electric vehicle production in 2030 and the award of the work to Halewood would be a huge boost for the UK car industry.
Sources said Ford is in talks with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) about a potential Halewood deal.
Ford retained the transmissions operations at Halewood after selling the car production facilities there to Indian car maker Tata, for £1.15bn, in 2008.
The US auto giant had then operated the transmissions site as a joint venture with German business Getrag, but took back full control of the plant from the Cologne-based group in March this year.
It currently makes engines for Ford’s Fiesta and Focus models, which are exported to vehicle manufacturing plants in Europe.
Production of etrans systems would be a major boost for the UK auto industry which is gradually switching to manufacturing electronic vehicles.
The neighbouring Jaguar Land Rover site aims to produce all-electric models by the end of the decade, and in July this year, car maker Stellantis confirmed the future of its manufacturing site at Ellesmere Port, in Cheshire, with the news it will cease production of its traditional Astra brand and switch to building a range of electronic vans next year.
Ford said earlier this year that it intends all of its passenger vehicles in Europe to be “zero-emissions capable, all-electric or plug-in hybrid” by 2026 and completely all-electric by 2030, while its commercial vehicles will be all-electric or plug-in hybrid by 2024, with two thirds of its commercial vehicle sales expected to be all-electric or plug-in hybrid by 2030.
A Ford spokesman said yesterday (September 23): “Ford is going ‘all-in’ on electrification, with 100% of our passenger vehicles being all-electric and two-thirds of our commercial vehicle sales expected to be all-electric or plug-in hybrid by 2030.
“We will provide more details about the actions we are taking to strengthen further our electrification plans across Europe at the appropriate time, but have nothing further to add today.”