Ford to close Bridgend plant – reports

Ford is set to close its Bridgend engine plant in Wales, multiple sources are reporting.

The news – which will lead to around 1700 job losses – is set to be announced formally tomorrow (Thursday). The plant opened 40 years ago.

At present Ford is declining to comment on the reports beyond saying it doesn’t comment on speculation, which was sparked after it was revealed the firm had invited union leaders from the plant to its Essex headquarters on Thursday. It is understood that senior Ford officials have flown over from the Unites States to attend the meeting.

Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns told the BBC he was in ongoing dialogue with the company regarding the situation but did not elaborate.

Earlier this year Ford announced it was aiming to cut up to 370 jobs at the plant, as one of the first moves of the cost-cutting ‘transformation’ of its European business.

The cuts are part of a wider goal already formally announced by Ford to achieve £14 billion of cost savings globally. Areas targetted include purchasing, manufacturing and engineering. It is not clear what has led to the escalation of the cost cuts in Bridgend.

The Ford Bridgend plant recently started building the three-cylinder 1.5-litre Ecoboost engine used in the Fiesta ST and new Focus, alongside a four-cylinder unit.

It also produces the Jaguar AJ-V8 engine for Jaguar Land Rover, although demand for that motor has been hit by falling demand for the various models it is used in.

The 141,000 square metre Bridgend plant was built in 1977, following an agreement between Ford and the Welsh Development Agency, with production starting in 1980. The plant initially built engines for the Escort.