Next week Ford will close its Southampton plant, after the automaker announced the closure plans in October 2012.
Around 530 workers will be made redundant and other 750 employees affected in the stamping and tool operations in Dagenham, Essex. Production from Southampton will be transferred in Turkey, as this market offers “significantly lower” production compared with any other country in Europe.
The Koceali plant in Turkey, which already works at full production capacity since 2009, is able to manufacture 185,000 vehicles annually, compared with 28,000 at the UK plant. Closing the Sothampton plant will put an end to more than a century of whole-vehicle production for Ford in the UK. The facility will be transformed into a refurbishment centre to support a new auto distribution center set up at Southampton docks.
“The distribution center will form part of Ford’s logistics operations, involved in import vehicle handling and onward distribution, and the shipping of engines to China. Low mileage used vehicles will be processed by the refurbishment center for supply to the Ford Direct sales programme,” Ford’s spokesman said.
The automaker added that a new powertrain tool room, for which £1.9 million was invested, will be established at Dagenham the engine plant, deploying 400 of the employees affected by closing the Dagenham stamping and tooling operations.