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Ford to close South Wales engine factory

Ford has confirmed it will close its South Wales engine factory as part of an overhaul of its unprofitable European operations in an $11bn global restructuring.

The plant in Bridgend employs about 1,700 workers and builds engines for several Ford models in Europe, including the Fiesta and the B-Max.

Bridgend’s future became uncertain 18 months ago when Jaguar Land Rover said it would end a contract to make engines for its vehicles at the factory.

“Creating a strong and sustainable Ford business in Europe requires us to make some difficult decisions, including the need to scale our global engine manufacturing footprint to best serve our future vehicle portfolio,” said Ford of Europe president, Stuart Rowley in a statement. “We are committed to the U.K.; however, changing customer demand and cost disadvantages, plus an absence of additional engine models for Bridgend going forward make the plant economically unsustainable in the years ahead.”

Ford said it currently expects costs associated with the plant closure to reach $650 million, with approximately $400 million of the charges paid in cash as separation and termination payments for employees.

The Bridgend engine factory is expected to close in “late 2020”.