Ford's Southampton plant set to lose part of its Transit production capacity
5 February 2009

Ford’s Southampton plant is to stop making the Ford Transit van in 2011 and the factory will also lose up to 500 workers through voluntary redundancies by May 2009, the company announced this morning.

More production of the Ford Transit van is likely to move to the company’s plant in Kocaeli, Turkey when the all-new model appears in 2011.

The Turkish plant and Ford’s Southampton factory make the current Transit. after the new version appears, the British plant will continue with chassis cab production only.

Union representatives are also being asked to reconsider a 5.25 per cent pay rise, originally negotiated last November. Ford of Europe CEO John Fleming is believed to have been in negotiations with union bosses yesterday to get them to agree to a lower pay offer, but no deal has been finalised.

"As demand across the industry continues to fall, we are facing some immediate and major challenges,” said Fleming.

"Those companies which act quickly in taking the right decisions will be those who not only survive but who emerge strongest from this deep recession."

One glimmer of good news for Ford is that, despite falling sales, the company’s UK market share for passenger cars has increased to 19.1 per cent. “It’s something that we haven’t had since the seventies,” said a spokesman. In January the Fiesta was Britain’s best-selling car.

Chas Hallett

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