Jobs boost at Ford following £190m engine investment

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Around 318 jobs are to be created following an announcement by Ford that it is to invest an additional £190m at its Dagenham plant in London.

The investment, which includes £8.9m from the government’s Regional Growth Fund, will be directed at the production of an all-new advanced technology 2.0-litre diesel engine for cars and commercial vehicles.

According to Ford, the announcement confirms the second phase of investment in the new engine programme following the original investment of £287m for phase one with support from the UK government’s Regional Growth Fund. This brings the total invested in the project to in excess of £475m.

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The first phase of investment relates to the production of low carbon 2.0 litre diesel engines for Ford commercial vehicles (CVs) globally. The second phase is for low carbon, 2.0 litre diesel engines for passenger cars.

The new range of low carbon 2.0-litre diesel engines for cars and CVs has been designed and developed at Ford Dagenham and at the Ford Dunton Technical Centre in Essex.

The first phase one engines will come off the line towards the end of next year. Production capacity will be up to 350,000 units per year and will be installed in Ford commercial vehicles from 2016.

The second phase of engine production is scheduled to start in 2017, with the first installation in Ford cars planned for 2018.  The added capacity of up to 150,000 units for this phase brings the total annual capacity for the all-new engine range to up to half a million units.In a statement Ford said: ‘This new, low carbon, London-built 2.0 litre advanced diesel engine will deliver dramatically lower NOx emissions, satisfying the air quality requirements of the London Mayor’s proposed Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ).’

This latest diesel engine programme at Ford Dagenham is part of a £1.5bn investment into low-carbon engine and vehicle technology over five years.

In a related development, business secretary Vince Cable has announced new funding to address skills shortages and build on the success of the UK’s automotive industry.

Cable revealed yesterday, October 20, that six businesses will receive £5.4m of government-industry investment to help them win and keep work with large automotive manufacturers. He also announced a further £10m of government money would be made available in a new funding round.

‘Through our industrial strategy we are working in partnership with the automotive sector as it goes from strength to strength, with…investment by Ford and the government in Dagenham the latest positive outcome.

‘Our new funding will build on this progress and help to lock in sustainable growth in the supply chain. On average only a third of parts going into vehicles manufactured here are sourced from the UK. With a potential £3bn in opportunities identified for UK based vehicle and engine manufacturers, we need to strengthen our supply chain to take advantage of this opportunity.’

The £5.4m includes a £2.7m government investment from the Employer Ownership Fund automotive supply chain competition, which is then matched by the firms. The winners from the first round are:

  • Benteler in Corby
  • Brose in Coventry
  • Getrag in Halewood
  • Gestamp in Sedgefield
  • Nifco in Stockton-on-Tees
  • Unipres in Sunderland.

‘Technical skills are scarce and getting more difficult to hire which is why Employer Ownership of skills to support employers in England to design and deliver their own training solutions is so important,’ said Ann Watson, COO of Semta, the sector skills council for science, engineering and manufacturing technologies. ‘It is encouraging to see companies of all sizes in the supply chain winning the bids. Semta intends to use its expertise to lead work in this area, partnering with companies and ensuring employers’ need is always the first priority.’