A no-deal Brexit “would be pretty disastrous” for British industry and could affect the future of Ford Bridgend Engine Plant, the company’s European boss has told the BBC.
Steven Armstrong told the BBC he was “still confident” a tariff-free frictionless trade deal would be done but a no-deal outcome would “force us to think about what our future investment strategy for the UK would be”.
Ford’s Bridgend plant is losing its contract to supply engines for Jaguar Land Rover in 2020 but its new Ford Dragon engine for its own models is due to start production this month as part of a multi-million pound investment started three years ago.
Mr Armstrong said there was an investment strategy for Bridgend for the near-term future, and that plan would continue after Jaguar Land Rover ends production of V6 and V8 petrol engines at the site it started using in 1990.
But beyond that, “it very much depends on what happens post-Brexit”, he added. “If we have a deal that allows us to be competitive in the UK then we will continue with the investment strategy. But it’s too early to be specific about Bridgend at this point.”
He dismissed suggestions that Brexit could be a convenient excuse to shrink the Bridgend plant after the JLR contract ends adding, “We have to look at what’s happening within our broader business. We have been very clear since JLR decided to put their business elsewhere that we would continue to look for options for Bridgend.”