Ford is expected to announce the closure of its van factory in Southampton, England, Reuters says. British shop stewards have been summoned to an emergency meeting at Ford’s European headquarters in Basildon, Essex, today.
This is believed to be part of a broad restructuring plan of Ford’s European business, also expected to be outlined today. Yesterday, Ford announced the closure of its Genk plant in Belgium.
Southampton City Council leader Richard Williams told Southampton’s Daily Echo the prospect of the Swaythling plant closing had come as a “complete shock” and a “serious bombshell”.
The Swaythling factory on the outskirts of Southampton has built over 2 million Ford Transit vans since 1972. Sources expect it to finish production by the end of 2013, and the Transit to move to Turkey.
Turkey is not part of the EU, but is part of the EU Customs Union, allowing most goods to travel freely between the two entities. Initially, this led to a rise of imports to Turkey, but soon, Turkey was discovered as a low-cost production hub with easy access to the European market and all countries that have free trade agreements with the EU.
Fiat also will close one of its plants – for two weeks. Fiat will stop production at its Pomigliano plant in Italy from Nov. 26 until Dec. 9, Reuters says.