And 1,700 jobs could be lost.
The Brexit situation in the United Kingdom has created issues for several automakers. Honda has already announced it will close its factory in Swindon where the Civic Type R and CR-V are built. The company said the decision had nothing to do with the Brexit decision, but we suspect it was a contributing factor. But Honda isn't the only company closing down factories in the UK, as Ford has just announced plans to close down its Bridgend Engine Plant in South Wales by 2020.
"Creating a strong and sustainable Ford business in Europe requires us to make some difficult decisions, including the need to scale our global engine manufacturing footprint to best serve our future vehicle portfolio," said Stuart Rowley, president, Ford of Europe. "We are committed to the UK; however, changing customer demand and cost disadvantages, plus an absence of additional engine models for Bridgend going forward make the plant economically unsustainable in the years ahead."
Ford says the Bridgend plant simply is not being used to its full potential. The plant currently builds the 1.5-liter three-cylinder EcoBoost engine found in the Ford Focus and Fiesta ST, neither of which is sold in the US. Some of the space in the factory is also used to build V8 engines for Jaguar and Land Rover, but with that engine set to be phased out by September 2020, Bridgend will be substantially underutilized. This decision will have a major impact on the 1,700 workers who are employed at Bridgend, but Ford is working on what it calls an enhanced separation program to help them find other jobs.
"As a major employer in the UK for more than a century, we know that closing Bridgend would be difficult for many of our employees," Rowley said. "We recognize the effects it would have on their families and the communities where they live and, as a responsible employer, we are proposing a plan that would help to ease the impact." 400 of the 1,700 employees have already signed up for a voluntary separation program earlier this year and will leave between May and December of 2019 to pursue other opportunities.
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