31 October 2019 19:24
An announcement on the proposed closure of Ford's Bridgend plant will be made on Thursday, the BBC has been told. The GMB said closure would "mean disaster" for the plant, which opened in 1980 and employs 1,700 workers. It comes just months after Ford said it was cutting its Welsh workforce by 1,000, with 370 going in a first phase. Investment in the new Dragon engine was scaled back, while production of an engine for Jaguar Land Rover is due to end this year. There has already been concern about whether the plant would be viable making only 125,000 Dragon petrol engines a year.
It comes just days after car sales in the UK fell again and the BBC expects Ford will be in touch with Welsh Government ministers first thing in the morning. GMB regional organiser Jeff Beck said: "We haven't had any confirmation of any closure, but we're meeting with Ford tomorrow and a new agenda has been arranged, which we're yet to see. Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price said closure would be "one of the most bitter blows" for the Welsh economy for more than 30 years. "Ford is the jewel in the crown of the car industry - which is the hardcore of our manufacturing sector - so the implications of this in terms of the supply chain in terms of job losses is very, very grave indeed." Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption The story behind how the Ford engine plant in Bridgend was built between 1977 and 1980. Mr Cairns said he had been in touch with Welsh Economy Minister Ken Skates and said the automotive sector was going through a period of structural change towards electric vehicles.
Ford (ticker: F) sells about 1.3 million cars in China annually through its joint venture with Chongquing Changan Automobile (200625.China), but Ford isn't the largest U.S. automotive presence in China. GM sells about 3.6 million cars annually in China and its joint venture with SAIC Motor (600104.China) is profitable. Fiat's Chinese business has struggled in recent years and the company replaced top management in the region in 2018. All five—Chongquin, SAIC, Guangzhou, FAW, and Dongfeng—account for about two-thirds of all new car sales in China each year. General Motors isn't the largest foreign automotive presence in China.
Pressure on GM and Ford or other from China is just another thing for U.S. automotive investors to think about. The latest automaker to be affected by it is Ford, and, according to sources, its award-winning 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine will be discontinued from its India line-up from April 2020. Ford will instead use Mahindra's new direct-injection version of the 1.2-litre, three-cylinder turbo, dubbed Turbo GDI (TGDI), as part of the collaboration the two auto majors that was first announced back in 2017. According to company sources, Ford is believed to be impressed with Mahindra's new 1.2 TGDI engine, which develops significantly more power and torque than the outgoing EcoBoost engine. The new Turbo GDI engine will also be offered on the XUV300 compact SUV, alongside the regular 1.2-litre MPFI powertrain, and is likely to get a twin-clutch automatic transmission as well. Company MD Pawan Goenka said they will be ready to launch the BS6-compliant petrol range around September 2019, as BS6 fuel is not mandatory for such vehicles. The company expects to be ready with its BS6 range of diesel engines by early next year and can launch them as soon as the requisite fuel is available. Ontario's government has introduced legislation to cap public sector wage increases at an average of one per cent annually for the next three years. The legislation, called the Protecting a Sustainable Public Sector for Future Generations Act, was tabled by the majority Progressive Conservatives on Wednesday afternoon. "This is really good news for our public sector workers, because we are protecting jobs today," said MPP Peter Bethlenfalvy, president of the Treasury Board. Ontario currently spends around $72 billion annually on public sector compensation. "Today, once again, we see Doug Ford acting like he's the king of Ontario, taking drastic action without any attempt to negotiate in a professional or respectful manner," she said. Horwath went on to accuse Ford of targeting public sector workers because "he doesn't value the services that they provide." It wasn't a huge shock, since we knew Ford had planned to discontinue the Fusion sedan at some point in the next few years. A Ford spokesperson confirmed the Fusion's discontinuation timeline to Automotive News, saying, "Our goal in the final year is to further simplify the offering and focus on maximizing the more popular SE, SEL and Titanium models." The Fusion received a mild refresh for the 2019 model year, which brought updated styling and features, including Ford's Co-Pilot 360 suite of driver assistance technologies. Currently, the Fusion still provides the underpinnings for the Lincoln MKZ sedan, so it's safe to assume the Ford's luxury counterpart will also go out of production next year. The Fusion's death is all part of Ford's plan to discontinue the bulk of its passenger cars in order to produce crossovers and SUVs--many with electrified powertrains.