Ford to repurpose UK plant to build electric power systems

Ford’s vehicle transmission facility at Halewood on Merseyside is to be transformed to build electric power units for future Ford all-electric commercial and passenger vehicles. The company will reportedly invest £230 million (around $406 million AUD) – which includes a substantial subsidy from the UK Government through its Automotive Transformation Fund — in converting the site and safeguarding jobs at the plant.

Halewood will be Ford’s first in-house electric vehicle component assembly site in Europe with production beginning in mid-2024 and production capacity expected to be around 250,000 units a year.

It represents another step forward in the company’s commitment to have 100 percent of its passenger vehicles as all-electric and two-thirds of its commercial vehicles either all-electric or plug-in hybrid by 2030.

“This is an important step, marking Ford’s first in-house investment in all-electric vehicle component manufacturing in Europe,” said Ford of Europe President, Stuart Rowley.

“It further strengthens our commitment to offering 100 percent of Ford passenger vehicles in Europe as all-electric and two-thirds of our commercial vehicles as either all-electric or plug-in hybrid by 2030,” he said.

“We also want to thank the UK Government for its support for this important investment at Halewood, which reconfirms Ford’s continuing commitment to the UK and our position as a leading investor in this country’s auto industry and technological base,” said Rowley.

The UK Government’s Business Secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng MP, said Ford’s decision to build its first electric vehicle components in Europe at its Halewood site is further proof that the UK remains one of the best locations in the world for high-quality automotive manufacturing.

“In this highly competitive, global race to secure electric vehicle manufacturing, our priority is to ensure the UK reaps the benefits,” said Kwarteng.

“Today’s announcement, backed by government funding, is a huge vote of confidence in Britain’s economic future and our plans to ramp up electric vehicle production. It will future-proof Halewood’s proud industrial heritage and secure high-skilled, well-paid jobs across the North West for years to come.”

The power unit is a complete all-electric assembly that replaces the engine and transmission in a conventional petrol- or diesel-powered vehicle.

The Ford Halewood transmission facility was reportedly chosen to supply the power units due to its excellent record on quality, competitiveness and the strong skills base and commitment of its employees.

The plant currently builds transmissions for a number of Ford passenger and commercial vehicles and exports 100 per cent of its production.

Before being taken back completely into Ford ownership earlier this year, Halewood had been part of Getrag Ford Transmissions – the transmission manufacturing joint venture co-owned by Ford and Magna PT (formerly Getrag) – for more than 20 years.

Ford is said to be one of the UK’s largest exporters, exporting engines and transmissions from its facilities to more than 15 countries on six continents, with overseas sales generating around £2.5 billion (around 4.4 billion AUD) annually.