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Ford to halve UK Transit production after 2011

Ford wants to cut production of its Transit at its Southampton factory in half to 35,000 units after 2011.

Unions are currently considering proposals from Ford that reduce the plant to building Transit chassis-cab variants only, cutting annual production from the current 75,000 to 35,000.

The number of jobs that will be lost have not been announced and Ford is still meeting with trade union Unite to work out the details.

Despite the doom and gloom that awaits Southampton in the future, Ford has confirmed that Transit production will remain unchanged until 2011, with 1,100 full time jobs safe-guarded for now.

Production secure until 2011

However, 124 short-term employee contracts will not be renewed due to the “softening UK market”.

Industry rumours suggested Ford management was going to move production from Southampton to its larger Transit factory in Kocaeli, Turkey this year, but this is not likely to happen until 2011.

Brian Bennett, Ford UK corporate affairs manager, said: “Production will stay in Southampton at 75,000 units until 2011. There are no current plans to transfer UK production to Turkey.”

Bennett said Ford is still meeting with unions and the Ford board in the US is currently reviewing an multi-million investment programme for the Southampton plant.

No deadline has been set for an announcement on the discussions.

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