Ford has committed to investing £230 million to transform its Halewood plant into its electric vehicle (EV) component manufacturing hub for Europe.
The OEM’s Merseyside vehicle transmission facility is set to be transformed to manufacture electric power units for future Ford all-electric passenger and commercial vehicles in Europe under the plans revealed today (October 18).
The plan is set to be fully realised by 2024 as part of Ford’s commitment to make 100% of its passenger vehicles EVs by 2030, along with two-thirds of its commercial vehicle sales as either fully electric or plug-in hybrid (PHEV).
Ford said today that production capacity for the Halewood site is planned to be around 250,000 units a year as it ramps-up productivity to provide parts to its EV assembly facility in Cologne, Germany, which recently received a $1bn (£0.74bn) funding injection.
Stuart Rowley, president, Ford of Europe, said: “This is an important step, marking Ford’s first in-house investment in all-electric vehicle component manufacturing in Europe.”
Rowley said that he wanted to thank the UK Government for its support for this important investment at Halewood, which he said: “reconfirms Ford’s continuing commitment to the UK and our position as a leading investor in this country’s auto industry and technological base”.
Ford is one of the UK’s largest exporters, exporting engines and transmissions from its facilities to more than 15 countries on six continents, with overseas sales generating around £2.5bn each year.
The Times reported that Ford’ commitment to Halewood had come after the UK Government made an estimated £30m available via its Automotive Transformation Fund.
It is the latest car manufacturing sector win for the UK, coming three months after the future of Sunderland’s Nissan car plant was secured by a £1bn plan to create a neighbouring battery-producing ‘gigafactory’ and Stellantis’ plan to transform its Ellesmere Port plant into a centre of production for its electric commercial vehicles (CV).
Commenting on Ford’s new EV component manufacturing plan for Halewood, business secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng MP, said: “Ford’s decision to build its first electric vehicle components in Europe at its Halewood site is further proof that the UK remains one of the best locations in the world for high-quality automotive manufacturing.
“In this highly competitive, global race to secure electric vehicle manufacturing, our priority is to ensure the UK reaps the benefits.
“Today’s announcement, backed by government funding, is a huge vote of confidence in Britain’s economic future and our plans to ramp up electric vehicle production.
“It will future-proof Halewood’s proud industrial heritage and secure high-skilled, well-paid jobs across the North West for years to come.”
Ford’s Halewood transmission plant currently employs around 500 people.
Kevin Pearson, Unite union convenor for Halewood, said: “We’re delighted the company has decided to make this important investment at Halewood, helping to safeguard Ford jobs at the site into the future.
“The decision recognises the experience, commitment and competitiveness of our world class workforce and is a great source of pride for all of us working at Halewood Transmission Plant and for the wider community.”