Future investment at Ford Bridgend Engine Plant will depend on terms Britain negotiates as it leaves the EU, a senior company executive has said in Geneva motor show.
Britain’s largest automotive engine maker Ford builds half of the country’s total output of 2.7 million units at its Bridgend petrol plant and London Dagenham diesel factory and employs over 3,000 on the lines.
The automaker will continue to build some of its own engines at Bridgend, including the new generation of Dragon petrol engines, but has yet to say what will replace the current run built for Jaguar Land Rover, prompting union fears that over 1,000 jobs could be lost after 2019.
Unions at Ford last year secured an above inflation pay rise and other benefits in return for greater flexibility on lines to improve efficiency, reduce overall costs and help win any new business investment.
Ford said it is in discussions over future investment but, like many of its peers, called for certainty as soon as possible over what future trading conditions will be between Britain and the European Union.
Britain is scheduled to leave the EU at the end of March 2019 following a 2016 referendum.
The company needs clarity on post-Brexit trading conditions as it decides on future investment in Britain, the carmaker’s Europe boss told Reuters on Monday.
“We’ll continue to work with the various stakeholders to look for what the opportunities are,” Ford’s Europe, Middle East and Africa boss Steven Armstrong told Reuters during an interview at the Geneva Motor Show and widely reported.
“The sooner we have the clarity, the easier the decisions become to make, positive or negative, so that clarity is the important part of this,” he said.
Ford estimates that a hard Brexit, which would see World Trade Organisation (WTO) tariffs of 10 percent on imports and exports and lower levels on components, would cost it up to $1 billion per year.