Auto industry stalwart Ford (F) said on Monday that it would pump up to £230m ($315.6m) into an electric car parts plant in Halewood, Merseyside.
The factory will make electric power units for future Ford all-electric passenger and commercial vehicles sold in Europe.
Power unit production in Halewood is expected to begin in mid-2024. Production capacity is planned to be around 250,000 units a year.
The investment — which is subject to and includes UK government support through its Automotive Transformation Fund — will help safeguard Ford jobs at Halewood.
“This is an important step, marking Ford’s first in-house investment in all-electric vehicle component manufacturing in Europe. It strengthens further our ability to deliver 100% of Ford passenger vehicles in Europe being all-electric and two-thirds of our commercial vehicle sales being all-electric or plug-in hybrid by 2030,” said Stuart Rowley, president of Ford of Europe.
The power unit is the complete all-electric assembly that replaces the engine and transmission in a conventional petrol or diesel engine vehicle.
Halewood currently builds transmissions for a number of Ford passenger and commercial vehicles and exports 100% of its production. Before being taken back completely into Ford ownership earlier this year, Halewood had been part of Getrag Ford Transmissions, the transmission manufacturing joint venture co-owned by Ford and Magna, for more than 20 years.
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Ford is one of the UK’s largest exporters, exporting engines and transmissions from its facilities to more than 15 countries on six continents, with overseas sales generating around £2.5bn annually.
“Today’s announcement, backed by government funding, is a huge vote of confidence in Britain’s economic future and our plans to ramp up electric vehicle production. It will future-proof Halewood’s proud industrial heritage and secure high-skilled, well-paid jobs across the North West for years to come,” said business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng.