Hants Ford plant to close?

The Ford factory at Swaythling, Southampton Photo: PA

There are unconfirmed reports that Ford is planning to close its Southampton factory. An announcement by the US carmaker is expected tomorrow. The factory, which builds Ford's Transit vans, employs around 500 people.

The news comes after the company confirmed it would close its plant in Gent, Belgium, resulting in 4,300 job losses.

"Ford announced its plans to end production at a major production plant in Genk, Belgium, by the end of 2014.

The plan, pending the outcome of the consultation process, could result in the transfer of the next-generation Ford Mondeo, S-MAX and Galaxy to Ford’s Valencia Plant in Spain

Ford of Europe's chief executive Stephen Odell added: "The proposed restructuring of our European manufacturing operations is a fundamental part of our plan to strengthen Ford's business in Europe."

VIDEO: Lunchtime update on Ford from Amanda Piper and Sally Simmonds.