Packing It In: Ford To Close Second European Plant

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.

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  • Gentle Ted Gentle Ted on Oct 25, 2012

    Britain announced this morning that they are out if Recession, I suppose this closing might put them back in Recession in due course,as Car manufacturing in the UK is fairly important there.

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    • Battles Battles on Oct 25, 2012

      As funny as it would be to have a triple dip recession (a world first?), car manufacturing isn't a huge deal in the UK anymore. There would be a bigger number of newly unemployed staff if one of the smaller banks or insurance companies decided to offshore a contact centre but the real impact is the loss of skilled jobs in engineering, which the UK used to be very good at and very proud of. It's a real shame to lose more skilled engineering work but it's an even realer shame for the couple of thousand people who will be directly impacted.

  • Gentle Ted Gentle Ted on Oct 25, 2012

    Its more than 500 jobs, the Daily Telegraph is reporting 1400 actual jobs and what about the little extras that will be effected? Any closing will have a negative effect on everyone in the UK

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    • Faygo Faygo on Oct 25, 2012

      @Battles not sure what you mean by "engineering jobs, whether skilled or semi-skilled". while some engineers are represented by white collar unions/works councils, I don't think you classify them as "skilled" or "semi-skilled" unless you are making value judgement on the quality of their work... Transit is engineered primarily in Europe, with some work done in the US. the same amount of engineering goes on no matter where the vehicles are built. process engineering and physical plant type roles would be lost with the closure of the plants in the UK, but not design engineering. same for closure of Genk. that goes away when programs are cancelled, which as yet has not been announced. and probably won't be given things as yet un-announced will be pushed back or re-scoped. in fact, moving product from one plant to another or modifying plants to build more products would result in _more_ process engineering/construction/etc work, albeit only in the places where the work is moving...

  • El scotto El scotto on Oct 25, 2012

    Isn't there supposed to be a "Big Transit" made somewhere in Europe to replace the Econoline and its Conestoga era stampings? If the "Big Transit" is coming from Europe, will these plant closing affect it?

    • Corntrollio Corntrollio on Oct 25, 2012

      Well, just the regular old Transit. Ford makes it confusing because the Transit Connect is only really related in that it's a van. I assumed they would make them here because of the Chicken Tax, although they build Transit Connects in Turkey with seats and rip out the seats once they get here, so I suppose they could do the same with the Transit.