Automotive giant Ford invests a further £125m in its Merseyside factory which is being converted to make e-drive systems for electric cars. Tony McDonough reports
Automaker Ford is investing a further £125m into its Merseyside factory – increasing manufacturing capacity by 70%.
This adds to the £230m it committed to the Halewood plant a year ago. Ford is converting the facility to make e-drive systems for electric cars. It formerly made transmissions for petrol engines.
In March 2021 Ford offered the Halewood transmission plant, and its hundreds of workers, a big vote of confidence when it took full control of the facility. This move saw the end of its 50/50 partnership with Magna PT, formerly known as Getrag.
Opened by Ford in 1963 as a car assembly plant, from the 1960s to the 1990s, the factory saw iconic Ford models such as the Escort, Capri and Orion roll off the production line. But in 1997, Ford said production of the Focus, the replacement for the Escort, would shift to Spain and Germany.
Today’s announcement takes total investment in enabling Halewood’s transformation to an EV component plant to almost £380m.
This latest investment – which includes government support from UK Export Finance, through their Export Development Guarantee – will help safeguard the 500 Ford jobs at Halewood and upskill them for Ford’s EV future.
Kieran Cahill, Ford’s European industrial operations vice-president, said: “Ford is a global American brand, woven into the fabric of Europe for more than 100 years and a major employer here at Halewood for almost 60 years.
“Our vision in Europe is to build a thriving business, by extending leadership in commercial vehicles and through the electrification of our car range. Halewood is playing a critical part as our first in-house investment in EV component manufacturing in Europe.
Halewood’s new power unit capacity is raised from 250,000 to 420,000 a year. It also means that 70% of the 600,000 EVs, which Ford will sell in Europe a year by 2026, will be powered by the Halewood-produced technology.
Ford’s EV push in Europe supports the acceleration of the company’s global plan for 2m annual production of EVs in the same 2026 time frame
Tim Slatter, chairman of Ford UK, added: “This is an all-important next step for Ford towards having nine EVs on sale within two years.
“Our UK workforce is playing a major role in Ford’s all-electric future, demonstrated by Halewood’s pivot to a new zero-emission powertrain.”