Some 1,160 jobs are under threat by 2021 at Ford’s Bridgend Engine Plant in Wales, the BBC reports, as engines currently built there reach the end of their life cycles.
The Ford Bridgend facility currently employs some 2,100 workers, producing small-displacement gas four-cylinders like the 1.6-liter Ti-VCT in use in the Ford Fiesta, B-MAX, C-MAX, Focus, and Mondeo, as well as the 1.6-liter EcoBoost in the C-MAX, S-MAX, Mondeo, and Galaxy.
But Wales’ Secretary of State, Alun Cairns, says he is optimistic that “there will be opportunities to bid for new engines along the way so long as we can make the plant in Bridgend, the [stamping] plant in Dagenham [London], and complimentary industries as efficient as possible.” However, he later told MPs: “We need to recognize that in relation to Ford there is a natural life cycle of a product and I think we need to be realistic in terms of where we were expected to be at this stage of development.”
On Wednesday, reports the BBC, Ford divulged its five-year outlook to unions, saying that “healthy volumes” of work would be present at the Bridgend plant for another two to three years, but that “identified workload is reduced” from there on.
Former Business Secretary Sir Vince Cable meanwhile says that “bits and pieces of the UK car industry are drifting away” in the wake of the country’s affirmative vote last year on a referendum to leave the European Union. “It would be amazing if Ford weren’t going through a similar thought process” to Vauxhall, he said, in reference to that company’s Ellesmere Port and Luton facilities, which are also in a time of uncertainty.