Ford to shutdown Welsh factory putting 1700 UK jobs at risk

In yet another setback for the UK car industry after the carmaker Ford announced it plans to close its Bridgend engine plant in Wales, claiming the closure is not Brexit related.

Ford said it plans to shutdown its plant in Bridgend in South Wales next year, blaming the closure on declining demand for some of its engines.

‘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,’ said Ford Europe President Stuart Rowley.

The decision puts some 1,700 UK jobs at risk, adding to the UK car industry’s woes at output continues to plummet on weakening domestic and overseas demand.

Brexit not to blame for Bridgend plant closure, says Ford

Despite the carmaker claiming that Brexit did not play a part in its decision to close the plant, the company has begun a new turnaround plan that targets loss-making operations, with it repeatedly stressing the importance of maintaining frictionless trade with the EU post-Brexit.

But with Theresa May resigning after failing to get her withdrawal agreement ratified by the House of Commons and her frontrunners to replace her all taking a hard stance on Brexit, likelihood of Britain leaving without a deal has increased.

No-deal Brexit must be avoided to save British car makers

The Brexit shutdown of factories by British car makers was part of a contingency plans designed to mitigate the impact of the UK leaving the EU customs union and single market.

But the last-minute extension of Article 50 threw a wrench in car makers best laid plans and only served to accelerate a downward trend in car output, driven by slowing demand in domestic and overseas markets like the EU, China and the US.

‘Provided the UK leaves the EU with a favourable deal and substantial transition period, and notwithstanding any escalation of global trade tensions, the decline in volumes is expected to ease by the end of the year, as new models come on stream and production lines remain active over the usual summer shutdown months,’ the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said last week.

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