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Ford's Merseyside investment will create 500 new jobs in the UK

 Ford's Merseyside investment to secure 500 UK jobs

Ford will invest £230 million in its Halewood plant in Merseyside to produce electric car parts, preserving 500 jobs.

According to Stuart Rowley, president of Ford of Europe, the investment will allow the plant to operate for many more years.

As Ford moves toward electrifying its vehicles, there has been speculation about the future of the Halewood factory complex.

The government's Automotive Transformation Fund will contribute to the investment.

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"We're really pleased with the UK government's support," Mr. Rowley told the BBC.

"We are not disclosing the exact amount, but it was strong backing for what is a significant investment in the UK."

He stated that government assistance was "part of the decision" to invest in Halewood, but it was not the only factor.

In 2024, Ford's Halewood plant will begin producing electric power units, which will replace the engine and transmission in gasoline vehicles.

Ford has stated its commitment to the United Kingdom, but not all locations have been as fortunate.

Its Bridgend engine plant closed in September last year, resulting in the loss of 1,700 jobs, after the company described it as "economically unsustainable."

Ford attributed the closure plans to "changing customer demand and cost," and denied that Brexit was a factor.

Ford is not the first manufacturer to receive financial assistance for electric vehicle production from the fund, which was established to encourage investment in electric vehicle manufacturing in the United Kingdom.

Nissan announced a major expansion of electric vehicle production at its Sunderland car plant in July, creating 1,650 new jobs.

The Japanese automaker will construct its next-generation all-electric vehicle at the site as part of a £1 billion investment that will also support thousands of jobs in the supply chain.

Envision AESC, a Nissan partner, will also construct an electric battery plant.

Obtaining Advantages

Mr. Rowley of Ford described the company's plans as "a huge vote of confidence in the workforce."

"Ford has been a part of the industrial and social fabric of the UK for many decades," he said, adding that the plant would be a "very important" part of Ford's European electrification plans.

The decision by Ford, according to Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, is "further proof that the UK remains one of the best locations in the world for high-quality automotive manufacturing."

"Our priority in this highly competitive global race to secure electric vehicle manufacturing is to ensure that the UK reaps the benefits," he added.

The Unite union's Kevin Pearson stated that the Ford investment "recognizes the experience, commitment, and competitiveness of our world class workforce and is a great source of pride for all of us working at Halewood Transmission Plant and the wider community."

According to Prof David Bailey of Birmingham Business School, the announcement suggested that the facility would be an important part of electric vehicle manufacturing in the UK.

That was "especially great news," he said, because there had been "a lot of speculation about the plant," including the possibility that Ford would move parts manufacturing and car assembly overseas.

He claimed that if Halewood had closed, it would have had an impact on other parts of the UK car industry as well as the local economy.

Prof Bailey stated that the UK's exit from the EU had been a "huge concern" prior to the agreement on a tariff-free trade deal between the EU and the UK.

Ford, on the other hand, stated that it is not currently experiencing the supply chain issues that are affecting some other UK businesses. Additional post-Brexit paperwork at ports, which has contributed to bottlenecks for some UK-based firms, has not been a major issue for Ford, the company said, because it has its own landing facilities at Dagenham.

According to a spokesperson for Ford, the company is concerned about any potential fallout from negotiations between the United Kingdom and the European Union over the Northern Ireland Protocol.

In addition, the global automaker recently announced a $1 billion (£730 million) investment in its vehicle assembly facility in Cologne, Germany, as well as an expansion of electric vehicle production in Turkey and Romania.