Production of the Ford Transit van at Southampton is likely to be halved with the introduction of the next-generation model in 2011.
Unions are currently considering proposals from Ford that reduce the plant to building Transit chassis-cab variants only, cutting annual production from the current 75,000 to around 35,000.
“The market for cars and commercial vehicles is intense and it is vital that Ford vehicles and locations remain cost competitive,” the company’s statement said.
If the proposal comes to fruition it will mark another decline in Ford’s UK production, coming less than a decade after car production ended at the Dagenham plant.
The Ford Transit is the only vehicle that the company currently builds in Britain, although engines are manufactured in Bridgend and Dagenham.
The Transit is also built at Ford’s Otosan Kocaeli plant in Turkey. Under the company’s proposals, this factory will build all the other Transit variants from 2011. It is cheaper and more cost effective to build vehicles in Turkey than in the UK.