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26 October 2012 | Adam Leach
Ford is to shut down operations at two of its UK facilities in 2013 as part of a cost-cutting plan that aims to generate annual savings of $450-$500 million (£270-£310 million).
The car manufacturer announced it will close its assembly plant in Southampton and its stamping and tooling operations in Dagenham in 2013, while also shutting down a major assembly plant in Genk, Belgium. In total, these facilities employ 5,700 hourly and salaried employees.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), which supports and promotes the interests of the UK automotive industry, said despite the “difficult and disappointing” news, the UK supply chain for the sector has a bright future. Over the past year, car manufacturers such as Jaguar Land Rover and Nissan have significantly increased car production in the UK and created thousands of jobs for UK suppliers.
Speaking about the Ford announcement, the spokesman, said: “While this is a momentary blip in the grand scheme of the global automotive industry, any UK supplier has £3 billion of contracts to dip into and £6 billion of investment coming in over the next few years. Looking at the broader picture, the future for UK manufacturing and consequently the supply chain is very bright.”
Last month, research from the SMMT forecast that the UK automotive sector will grow by 9 per cent year until 2016, creating an extra £3 billion contract opportunities for suppliers. Last week the Regional Growth Fund, a scheme headed by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, announced it would invest a further £1 billion into the UK auto industry.