Ford investment in Halewood electric drive production will safeguard 500 jobs

Motor giant Ford will build its new electric drive units at its factory in Halewood, Merseyside, guaranteeing up to 500 jobs.

And trade union, Unite, said it believes there is the prospect of between 400–700 jobs being created.

The plant, which is situated next to the Jaguar Land Rover manufacturing site, will benefit from an injection of around £230m, including a portion of funding from the Government.

It is expected to start producing up to 250,000 electric power units a year from 2024.

Ford of Europe president, Stuart Rowley, said: “This is a very important announcement for Halewood as it will secure the future of the facility along with introducing new technology for Ford vehicles in Europe.”

Sharon Graham, general secretary of trade union Unite, said: “This investment is excellent news for the highly skilled workforce at Halewood as it secures the future of the plant.”

But she added: “It is absolutely imperative that the Government does not see this investment as a one-off but supports similar schemes to ensure the entire UK automotive industry experiences a smooth transition in the move to build electric vehicles.”

Unite said it understands that the multimillion-pound investment in the development and production of the new electric drive units which will be installed in its passenger and commercial vehicles.

The union said there is the prospect of between 400–700 jobs being created.

Unite national officer, Des Quinn, said: “The union has been working behind the scenes to ensure that the jobs of our members at Halewood were protected.

“Unite is absolutely dedicated to protect the jobs, pay and conditions of all our members and is working to ensure that similar projects are adopted throughout the UK’s world class automotive sector.”

Unite is also campaigning to ensure that the Government rapidly improves the infrastructure regarding rapid electric charging points to make it far easier for consumers to transfer to electric vehicles.

Halewood was competing with a Ford factory in Germany for the investment in the new technology.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, said: “Ford’s decision is further proof that the UK remains one of the best locations in the world for high quality automotive manufacturing.

“In this global race to secure electric vehicle manufacturing, our priority is to ensure the UK reaps the benefits.”

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.

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.