Ford Spain will manufacture at its plant in Almussafes (Valencia) the GE2 electric vehicle platform that the American multinational had not yet assigned to one of its European plants, according to company sources. The Valencian factory, with 6,000 employees, will be responsible for producing two new electric models from 2025, projects for which the German factory in Saarlouis has also tendered, thus guaranteeing its continuity.
The decision was made public this Wednesday after an internal negotiation process that began in 2021, during which the Spanish and German factories presented their proposals and tried to convince the multinational that they were the best option to produce future models. electricity in Europe. Ford Chairman and CEO Jim Farley confirmed his commitment to “building a dynamic and sustainable business in Europe under our Ford+ plan, and that takes focus and tough decisions,” he said. declared. “The European automotive industry is fiercely competitive, and to thrive and grow, we can never be satisfied with exceptional quality products, an exceptional customer experience, ultra-efficient operations and a talented and motivated team” , added Farley. For his part, manufacturing manager at the Valencia plant, Dionisio Campos, described the decision as a “fundamental step” both for the plant and for the transformation of Ford Europe’s business “towards a fully electric and connected and of which we should all be deeply proud.”
The UGT union, majority in the Spanish factory, reached a preliminary agreement with the European management of Ford in January, where it accepted wage moderation for the next four years, working 18 Saturdays and even recovering the team from night to guarantee the supply of orders in the event of an emergency. the winner. In fact, Dionisio Campos, in a communication to staff, thanked the union for its work: “I would like to thank everyone involved for their support and professionalism, especially all the employees who, led by the UGT, understood criticality of the moment, and without whose commitment this outcome would not have been possible. I would also like to acknowledge the support of national and regional governments throughout the process,” Campos wrote in a statement.
For the UGT, the choice of the Valencian factory is “workload and employment for more than a decade”. However, the union did not want to forget that within a year Ford will only manufacture the Kuga model, at which time the transformation towards electrification and the resizing of the factory must begin.
Factory closures and thousands of redundancies at Ford in Europe, which has been restructuring since 2018, have put a strain on the Spanish factory, on which thousands of direct jobs and another 25,000 from the ancillary industry depend, since the multinational has announced that it will leave the production of thermal cars in 2030.
The Almussafes factory needed these two future models to last another 10 or 15 years. Almussafes has already stopped manufacturing the Mondeo model and at the end of the year it will also lose the Transit van for the North American market. Subsequently, it will also stop manufacturing it for the European market. And the Galaxy and S-Max models will be lost in early 2024, barring last-minute changes. The Valencian factory would remain exclusively manufacturing the Kuga in its various versions in 2024 if new investments did not arrive.
Ford of Europe said in May that the decision would be announced at the end of this month, but said that future opportunities would be sought for the abandoned plant. Moreover, the assignment of the new models to the Spanish factory does not guarantee possible future adjustments. Ford of Europe CEO Stuart Rowley has already warned that the selection will not prevent a resizing of the factory that is chosen.
The Ministry of Industry and the Generalitat Valenciana worked for months with discretion and in the greatest secrecy so that the proposal presented by Almussafes to the multinational was the most competitive and prevailed over the offer that the factory of Saarlouis.