Hundreds of jobs have been saved after Ford chose a factory in Merseyside to build parts for electric cars.
The automotive giant has announced plans to sell exclusively electric vehicles in the UK and rest of Europe by the end of this decade.
The US manufacturer is now set to revamp a factory in Halewood, Liverpool, to develop electric power units for vehicles. Halewood will be Ford‘s first electric vehicle component in-house assembly site in Europe.
The £230m investment is reportedly expected to save about 500 jobs.
Sharon Graham, general secretary of the Unite union, said it was “excellent news for the highly-skilled worforce” at the Merseyside factory. “It secures the future of the plant,” she added.
Power unit production in Halewood is expected to begin in mid-2024, with capacity planned to be about 250,000 units a year. The components will be destined for all future Ford all-electric passenger and commercial vehicles in Europe.
Stuart Rowley, the president of Ford of Europe, said: “This is an important step, marking Ford‘s first in-house investment in all-electric vehicle component manufacturing in Europe.
“It strengthens further our ability to deliver 100 per cent of Ford passenger vehicles in Europe being all-electric and two-thirds of our commercial vehicle sales being all-electric or plug-in hybrid by 2030.”
Ford said the Halewood investment was subject to, and includes, government support through its automotive transformation fund.
In February, Ford pledged to make all its European passenger vehicles electric by the end for 2030 in line with the EU’s limits on carbon dioxide emissions.
Mr Rowley said at the time the car giant was “going all in” on electric vehicles.
The company also announced it would spend millions to covert its factory in the German city of Cologne into a European electric vehicle plant.
Ford’s move comes just months after Vauxhall’s parent compoany announced similar plans. Stellantis’ troubled Ellesmere Port factory in northwest England will now build electric vehicles following a £100m investment also backed by the UK government.
Vehicles under the Stellantis-owned Citroen and Peugeot brands will also roll off the production line at Ellesmere Port.