Business minister signs off Ford loan

Paperwork for a government-backed loan to Ford was formally signed off today during a visit by business minister Mark Prisk to Ford’s technical centre at Dunton, Essex.

The government is providing a £360m loan guarantee for Ford’s £450m loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB).

Ford is investing £1.5bn over the next five years for the development of a new generation of environmentally friendly engines and vehicle technologies.

The Dunton site is one of four that will benefit from the investment, which will also safeguard around 2,800 jobs. The others are Ford’s manufacturing plants in Dagenham, Southampton and Bridgend in South Wales.

The minister, who was also accompanied by EIB vice-president Simon Brooks, toured the laboratories where engineers test vehicles and engines.

Prisk said: ‘Ford has an impressive track record in research and development. Its investment of £1.5bn over the next five years is a great opportunity to take the lead in developing low-carbon manufacturing.’

The UK projects to be supported cover research and development for Ford’s commercial vehicles such as the Transit and Connect vans and the development of low-carbon-emission diesel and petrol engines.

This includes investment in production facilities for new, lower-carbon engines in Bridgend.

Currently, 25 per cent of all Ford engines worldwide and more than 50 per cent of all Ford diesel engines are made in the UK.