Ineos puts plans to create 500 jobs in Wales on hold due to Covid-19

Credit: Ineos

The company Ineos said it is reviewing its manufacturing plans of building its new 4x4 Grenadier vehicle in Wales because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Last year, Ineos Automotive announced plans to build the Grenadier on a site next to the Ford plant in Bridgend. The company said it would create up to 500 jobs there.

The announcement was described as a "glimmer of hope" for the area, after Ford said it would be closing its Bridgend engine plant, with the loss of 1,700 jobs.

An Ineos spokesperson said the pandemic has caused "some delays" in its development plans but it has also presented new opportunities.

The spokesperson said: “Ineos Automotive has entered detailed discussion with Mercedes Benz on the acquisition of its Hambach site in Moselle, France. We have therefore suspended the post-lockdown resumption of work on our sites in Wales and Portugal, pending the completion of this review.”

The leader of Bridgend County Borough Council said Ineos' announcement "comes hot on the heels of the significant economic impact" the Covid-19 pandemic is having on the town.

Credit: Ineos

Economy and Transport Minister Ken Skates said he is "incredibly disappointed" that Ineos is reconsidering its move to Wales.  

He said: “I have told the CEO that abandoning Bridgend at this late stage, after so much effort and money has been invested in preparing the site, would be a terrible decision for Wales and the UK.

“We have worked closely with the company in good faith to secure the site in Bridgend and it would be a real blow if Ineos reneged on its very public commitment that it would be locating here."

During the Welsh Government press conference, the Health Minister Vaughan Gething said it would be "a really significant step backward for Bridgend" if Ineos does not continue with its plans to work there.

Plaid Cymru Shadow Minister for the Economy said the news is "perhaps an ominous sign of what might be to come."

Helen Mary Jones MS said: "Bridgend cannot afford another blow like this. We know certain sectors like the automotive and aviation industries are already vulnerable, so we need to do more than just dealing with the immediate crisis – we must learn from this so that we can build a better future for Wales."

Ineos said it will give more updates in the coming weeks.