Ford to invest £230m to transform Halewood operations in UK to build its first electric vehicle components in Europe

Building on its commitment to go all-in on electrification in Europe, Ford announced today that it intends to invest up to £230m at its Halewood vehicle transmission facility to transform it to build electric power units for future Ford all-electric passenger and commercial vehicles sold in Europe.

Power unit production in Halewood is expected to begin in mid-2024. Production capacity is planned to be around 250,000 units a year. The investment – which is subject to and includes U.K Government support through its Automotive Transformation Fund – will help safeguard the Ford jobs at Halewood.

“This is an important step, marking Ford’s first in-house investment in all-electric vehicle component manufacturing in Europe. It strengthens further our ability to deliver 100 percent of Ford passenger vehicles in Europe being all-electric and two-thirds of our commercial vehicle sales being all-electric or plug-in hybrid by 2030,” said Stuart Rowley, president, Ford of Europe.

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

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.

“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 the complete all-electric assembly that replaces the engine and transmission in a conventional petrol or diesel engine vehicle.

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

“We’re delighted the company has decided to make this important investment at Halewood, helping to safeguard Ford jobs at the site into the future. The decision recognises the experience, commitment and competitiveness of our world class workforce and is a great source of pride for all of us working at Halewood Transmission Plant and for the wider community,” said Kevin Pearson, Unite union convenor for Halewood.

Industry reaction

Oliver Shaw, CEO at Kalibrate said: “Ford’s ongoing investment in electric vehicles demonstrates that the global automobile industry is undergoing an historic shift, as car manufacturers transition from internal combustion engines to battery-powered vehicles. Yet, it’s just one of the many steps that the UK faces to make electric vehicles readily available and a sustainable, long-term option. Any successful EV infrastructure warrants significant investment to make the parts. However, as the appetite for electric vehicles (EVs) grows, the lack of infrastructure to support widespread adoption will continue to be a roadblock in the journey.

“For instance, consumers crave convenience and want to be able to charge their EVs at the office (55%) or at shopping venues (40%). But over half of businesses (55%) think the market is too unpredictable and 57% find it difficult to anticipate where EV charging infrastructure would be most useful. It’s a fine balance that the likes of Ford, Vauxhall and many others car manufacturers will have to strike to meet the UK government’s 2030 environmental target while responding to the expectations of shareholders and the changing preferences of drivers.”