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Ford survival instinct behind venture with Getrag

Ford's commitment to entering joint partnerships to run non-core manufacturing operations has been further demonstrated today in a deal with German transmissions group Getrag.

The venture is a 50:50 partnership between the two companies and is known as Getrag Ford, A total of £351m is to spent on securing its success.

The joint venture has its headquarters in Cologne and has ownership of the former transmission operations of Ford in Europe, which employs around 3,700 people at plants in Bordeaux, Cologne and Halewood. The UK plant employs 950 people.

Tobias Hagenmeyer, Getrag president, is the chief executive officer for the joint venture, Mihir Kotecha from Ford is chief financial officer.

Mr Hagenmeyer said: "With the joint venture we have a great opportunity to combine the strengths of both companies and take a leadership position in technology, product and manufacturing.

"We will create the foundation for our main customer, Ford, starting with a programme to deliver a full range of new generation transmissions incorporating the latest technology." These will include 6-speed and automated shift manual technology.

In praising the joint venture David Thursfield, president and CEO Ford of Europe, could be seen to be hinting at the wider use of the concept in the Ford business plan.

"The joint venture is an excellent example of an innovative approach which makes good business sense for all parties," he said.

"Ford will gain from the establishment of a long-term competitive source of manual transmissions, with new investment, innovative technology and new products. We will also benefit from improvements to our fixed cost base and better asset utilization, which are key elements in our European Turnaround Strategy."

This strategy has been put in place to reverse losses of £881m last year which has led to plant closures - notably the car manufacturing resource at Dagenham - as well as a new product offensive.

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