Following Nissan’s move to cancel plans to build the next-generation X-Trail in the UK, Ford has issued a strong warning to the government that it is prepared to move production out of the country.
According to The Times, Ford bosses told Prime Minister Theresa May on a private call with business leaders that the company was preparing alternative manufacturing sites abroad in case of a no-deal Brexit.
During the call, the head of the government said the UK was preparing a package of financial support for businesses affected by a no-deal Brexit. However, she declined to elaborate.
A participant to the conference call told the paper that other companies delivered the same warning as Ford. “The general message was that this isn’t about contingencies any more — we are taking steps already because of the uncertainty. It’s real,” the unnamed business leader said.
Ford moving its manufacturing operations out of the UK would be a devastating blow to the economy, as the US-based carmaker employs 13,000 people in the country, with countless others working for its suppliers. The company has three production facilities that build engines and transmissions, as well as an R&D center in the UK, which has traditionally been at the heart of Ford’s European operations alongside Germany.
Ford thinks a Brexit would be catastrophic for UK car makers
While the Blue Oval declined to comment on the report, the company issued a pretty strong statement. “We have long urged the UK Government and Parliament to work together to avoid the country leaving the EU on a no-deal, hard Brexit basis on March 29. Such a situation would be catastrophic for the UK auto industry and Ford’s manufacturing operations in the country. We will take whatever action is necessary to preserve the competitiveness of our European business.”
Ford is currently undergoing a massive restructuring process both at home and in Europe, and recently announced it would cut approximately 400 jobs at its engine plant in Bridgend, Wales (pictured).