May 21 2013 Latest news:
John Phillips, Senior Reporter
Thursday, October 25, 2012
Ford is to close its Dagenham stamping plant next year with the loss of up to 750 staff, the car giant confirmed today.
Up to 3,250 jobs will be safeguarded in the Dagenham engine plant, which will start to mak new low carbon emission engines from 2016.
The announcement came on the day the country officially came out of a double-dip recession.
Ford said it was moving to shut the stamping and tooling facility in Chequers Lane in a bid to tackle the “severe and persistent economic crisis” on European markets.
The car maker expects to make a loss of at least $1.5billion within its European division this year.
Ford of Europe chief executive Stephen Odell said: “We have to act quickly and decisively to address the collapse in consumer demand in Europe today and position Ford for profitable growth tomorrow.
“The European market holds potential for profitable growth if we accelerate product development and move decisively to address our costs and overcapacity.”
Today, the car maker also confirmed it planned to shut a 4,300-staff plant in Genk, Belgium, and its 500-staff factory in Southampton, ending 100 years of vehicle production in the UK.
The Dagenham stamping plant makes panels for cars and vans and employs 750 staff, a Ford spokesman said.
Around 4,000 employees work on the Dagenham estate in total.
Ford bosses said combined engine output at Dagenham was to remain around one million.
Mark Stephens, Unite rep at the stamping plant, said he feared for the worst ahead of the announcement yesterday.
Mr Stephens, 49, told the Post : “We tend to take a pessimistic view. We’ve been hit so many times in the UK.”
The car maker said today’s announcement sought to address manufacturing overcapacity triggered by a 20 per cent drop in vehicle demand in Western Europe since 2007.
Ford bosses hope the redundancies can be achieved voluntarily.
A spokesman said: “Ford’s goal is to achieve employee reductions in the UK through voluntary means, enhanced employee separation programs and redeployment to other Ford locations.”
A spokesman said the car maker was expected to make a profit overall on world markets this year.