Ford engine manufacturing in Wales to cease in 2020
Ford has announced plans to close its Bridgend engine plant in autumn next year, with the loss of 1,700 jobs. The news comes as a further blow to the UK automotive industry, following Nissan and Honda's similar decisions in Sunderland and Swindon respectively.
Ford of Europe president, Stuart Rowley, said of the closure: "Creating a strong and sustainable Ford business in Europe requires us to make some difficult decisions, including the need to scale our global engine manufacturing footprint to best serve our future vehicle portfolio. We are committed to the UK. However, changing customer demand and cost disadvantages, plus an absence of additional engine models for Bridgend going forward make the plant economically unsustainable in the years ahead."
The factory's presence in the area has been a vital source of employment and revenue for locals for decades, contributing £3.3 billion to the economy in the past 10 years alone. That's despite the site operating well below capacity for a considerable period, with the planned manufacturing of Ford's Dragon engines cut to 125,000 a year in 2016, just a sixth of the plant's 750,000-unit capability.
With JLR's struggles also impacting on a workforce split evenly between producing engines for that company and Ford, the writing has looked to be on the wall for a little while now, but the news will come as a devastating blow for employees and the wider area nonetheless.