Ford Motor Company, the American multinational automotive manufacturer, has reportedly announced plans to transform its Merseyside gearbox factory in the UK to produce electric power units starting 2024, preserving more than 500 jobs.
Last month, media outlets reported that the company’s Halewood facility was competing for the job with another site in Germany.
The UK government, according to Ford, is backing its investment via the Automotive Transformation Fund. Halewood will be the firm’s first in-house electric car component assembly plant in Europe, the company stated.
Ford stated that the facility will produce electric power units, which will be used to replace the engine and gearbox in future all-electric Ford passenger and commercial automobiles marketed in Europe.
Stuart Rowley, president, Ford of Europe, stated that it improves Ford's capacity to ensure that 100% of its passenger cars in Europe are 100% electric and two-third of its commercial vehicles are fully electric or plug-in hybrids by the end of 2030.
Rowley added that Ford also wants to express its gratitude to the government of the UK for its support for this significant investment at Halewood, which reaffirms Ford's dedication to the UK and Ford's position as a key investor in the nation's automotive industry and technological foundation.
Ford's announcement adds on this year's progress towards the UK's projected electric vehicle future, as the UK government's 2030 ban on the sale of new diesel and petrol-powered cars as part of its plans to combat climate change comes closer.
In July, Stellantis, the owner of Peugeot and Vauxhall, announced intentions to invest £100 million in electric manufacturing at Ellesmere Port, while Nissan announced a £1 billion investment in a new electric vehicle and a battery facility in Sunderland.
A number of additional gigafactories are also being considered.
The union Unite, which participated in the negotiations, openly welcomed the investment but urged the government to step up its efforts if the auto industry is to be ready to offer a fully functional electric car system.