The Sunday Telegraph - Business & Money

Ford picks Halewood above Germany for new car parts

- By Alan Tovey

FORD is to make electric car components at its factory in Halewood in a boost for Britain’s automotive industry as it navigates away from fossil fuels.

Bosses have picked the Merseyside factory over another of the company’s sites in Germany for more than £200m of investment into “e-drive” transmissi­on systems, which control power from batteries used to run a vehicle’s wheels.

The deal will secure the future of the 500 staff at Halewood, who currently make transmissi­ons for petrol Ford vehicles including the Fiesta and Focus, which are exported to vehicle manufactur­ing plants in Europe.

Britain is banning the sale of new cars powered solely by internal combustion engines from 2030 and the EU is planning a similar move from 2035, raising questions about Halewood’s future.

Ford is being supported with taxpayer money from the Government’s £500m Automotive Transmissi­on Fund (ATF), announced last year as part of Boris Johnson’s 10-point plan for a “green industrial revolution”.

Ford is understood to be getting about £25m from the fund, which is intended to encourage global car companies to invest in the UK to deliver “developmen­t and mass-scale production of electric vehicle batteries”.

Other internatio­nal carmakers to have used the fund include Nissan, which is thought to have received £100m to bring a battery gigafactor­y to its Sunderland facility as part of a £1bn investment. The Vauxhall owner Stellantis, which is swapping over its Astra car factory in Ellesmere Port to produce electric vans, is another beneficiar­y.

Prof David Bailey, an automotive industry expert at Birmingham University, said: “This is great news for staff at the plant. Production of electric drive units at Halewood is an important piece of the jigsaw falling in to place as the UK supply chain switches over to production of electric vehicles.”

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