Ford takes back full control of Halewood car plant in 'historic' move safeguarding hundreds of jobs

Ford opened the car production plant in Halewood in the 1960s. Credit: Liverpool Echo

The famous Ford branding will return to Merseyside as the company takes back full control of a transmission plant - securing hundreds of jobs.

The 'historic' move in Halewood has been described as a "huge show of confidence" in UK car manufacturing, amid worries over future of the Vauxhall plant in Ellesmere Port.

The factory, which makes transmission systems for Ford vehicles, was previously run in collaboration with German firm Getrag.

But Ford has now taken over the remaining 50% of the plant, ending years of uncertainty for workers and bringing all 700 employees under the company umbrella.

Andy Roche, a plant manager, told the Liverpool Echo it was a "historic moment".

He said: "It's a real testament to the work of the management along with the trade unions in Halewood that they've done over the last 20 years, including the new work and practices they accepted to get the plant to the condition it is in now. It really is at the top of itsgame both in terms of cost, quality and delivery.

"I think it's just great for the region as well as for Liverpool - as you drive into the city now along the A562, the first thing you're going to see is a Ford sign on top of our building.

The factory, which makes transmission systems for Ford vehicles, was previously run in collaboration with German firm Getrag. Credit: Gertag-Ford

HALEWOOD PLANT TIMELINE

1960s - Ford opened the car production plant in Halewood - bringing jobs and prosperity to the area. The Ford Escort, Orion and Capri were later assembled onsite.

1997 - it was announced the European production of the Ford Focus, designed to replace the Escort, would be carried out in Germany and Spain.

2001 - Jaguar Cars, then owned by Ford, announced that the Jaguar X-Type would be produced in Halewood.

2008 - Ford sells Jaguar and Land Rover to Tata Motors, part of the India-based Tata Group, for £1.05bn and the two were eventually merged into a single company. Under the terms of the deal, Ford retained ownership of the transmission plant, which it operated in collaboration with Getrag - now known as Magna PT - on a 50/50 basis.


The plant will be one of just two Ford manufacturing facilities left in the UK.

Kevin Pearson, the union convenor at Ford in Halewood described it as "great news" - a show of confidence in the workforce and down to the site’s “success and efficiency”.

Mr Roche also said the news was a show of faith in the UK’s car industry amid “doom and gloom” that has seen the future of the Vauxhall plant in Ellesmere Port put at risk.

He has worked at the plant since 1979, and said: “This is 42 years for me now, and I've seen the industry go through many changes.

"In the main, they've been positive but lately with all the fear around Brexit and everything else that we've been going through, and then the push more towards electric vehicles which all governments seem to be pushing for, has obviously been a cause of concern in the automotive industry, particularly around Merseyside.

"Then there’s the potential bad news [coming from Vauxhall]. So for Ford to come in and invest in us and want to take us back under their umbrella and complete ownership is great for the workforce."

The Ford Escort, Orion and Capri were made onsite at the plant during the 1960s. Credit: Liverpool Echo

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