Over a century of Ford auto production in the UK will come to an end, as the US carmaker plans to shutter its van plant at Southampton in 2013. A total of 1,500 British jobs will be lost as Ford slashes overcapacity.
Ford was planning to stop manufacturing its Transit van in Britain, as well as to shutter a stamping plant providing body parts to the van production, a British trade union leader said Thursday.
"In 2013, Ford is closing its stamping plant in Dagenham and the Transit van plant in Southampton," Roger Maddison, the Unite union's national officer for the automotive industry, told reporters.
Speaking after an emergency meeting with management at Ford's British headquarters in Basildon, Maddison said the decision could lead to the loss of a couple of thousand jobs at Ford in Britain.
Ford's Transit van production at the Swaythling factory in Southampton currently employs around 500 workers. According to union leader Maddison, van production would move completely to Turkey.
At Ford's main British plant at Dagenham, about 1,000 jobs could be lost as the US carmaker aims to shut down the stamping factory. The engine plant at Dagenham, employing about 4,000 workers, would be spared the cuts and was likely to see expansion, Maddison said.
The US auto giant has a British workforce of 11,400 at four different sites. However, the planned closure of the Swaythling van factory would spell the end to Ford auto production in Britain, as all other factories primarily produce car components.
Ford aims to cut production overcapacity and costs amid a major slump in the European car market, notably in the debt-hit eurozone periphery.
On Wednesday, Ford already announced that it would close its factory in Genk, Belgium, in 2014 as a result of a sharp drop in its European sales.
uhe/dr (Reuters, dpa)