MPs slam Ford ‘betrayal’

Ford Transit
14 Nov, 2012 1:09pm Jon Morgan

Politicians are criticising the Transit plant’s £80m loan, claiming UK taxpayers ‘subsidised job losses’

MPs launched a scathing attack on Ford’s decision to close the Transit plant in Southampton during a heated Commons debate last week.

Van production will move to the Otosan factory in Kocaeli, Turkey, next year, with the loss of 500 Ford of Britain jobs, plus lots more in the supply chain – despite assurances from Ford in recent years that the future of Southampton was secure.

Politicians are furious Ford accepted an £80m European Investment Bank (EIB) loan – guaranteed in part by British taxpayers – back in June to modernise the Turkish factory that’s taking over production.

Southampton Conservative MP Caroline Noakes said: “By guaranteeing the loan, the UK taxpayer has helped Turkey to import British jobs at the expense of the UK taxpayer.

So it’s up to Ford to show some moral responsibility towards those who’ve just subsidised their own redundancy.”

Noakes pointed out Ford’s share price jumped from £10.36 to £11.16 on news of the plant closure, and that it made a profit of $2.2billion (£1.4bn) last year.

“Why does a subsidiary of a company making $2.2bn need cheap loans from UK taxpayers to export UK jobs to a country that is still outside the EU?” she asked. A Ford spokeswoman told us the EIB loan was to modernise the Turkish factory in readiness for production of a range of all-new cars, not to re-tool to absorb production from Southampton.

She said: “EIB loans are loans at commercial rates, and do not use taxpayers’ money. While the EIB is owned by the 27 member states, it does not receive financial support from them.”

The spokeswoman also said Otosan has led production of the Transit globally for a decade, and has four times Southampton’s capacity. “So its output could be more efficiently consolidated at Kocaeli,” she explained.

What local MPs say

Caroline Noakes Conservative, Romsey and Southampton North
“UK taxpayers shouldn’t be supporting Ford shareholders’ dividends. The company has a duty to those on whose P45s its future profitability has been built.”

John Dunham Labour, Southampton, Itchen
“It’ll be a long time before any Government in this country will sit down with Ford without wondering whether the people on the other side of the table are telling the truth.”

Chris Huhne Liberal Democrat, Eastleigh
“Customers will no doubt draw their own conclusions about the value of warranties from a company that is prepared to walk away from firm commitments.”

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Simple, everybody boycott the Ford brand. They'll soon understand when they see their profits drop

Quite right, don't buy Ford rubbish. Can never understand why people buy them anyway. Plenty of better cars out there!

You are talking rubbish, vauxhall will be next, Peugeot did the dirty a few years back. sadly it's the reality of 21st business in Europe. you should be blaming the crappy banks.

The plain and simple truth is that we no longer have Austin, Morris, Wolsey, Riley etc because Brits did not value our national identity. Germans largely buy German, French largely buy French - Brits largely buy what they can buy the cheapest ! It is unreasonable to expect the average British car-buyer (and don't forget the Fleet Companies) to support British manufactured goods when Government departments bought foreign, because the goods were cheaper. I do drive German but I did change banks when mine was acquired by a Spanish group. Neither Ford nor Vauxhall are really British but at least up to now their products have been made in Britain. I think Ford should have to repay the loan immediately.

Two Actions: One - Ford Repays the Loan witin 30 days.
Two: We Boycott Ford until they change their Policy! If GM do the same, then hit them as well! It isn't until you hit the so called Directors in these Firms in their pockets, will they actually listen.

Whats new in manufacturing jobs being moved abroad for a cheaper workforce? The North East was decimated by this throughout the 80's,90's and 00's. Blair paid a fortune in taxpayers money for a factory in his constituency for a 100 or so ''High Tech'' jobs that lasted about 3 years while letting 10,000 rag trade jobs disappear without a trace. It matters not a jot whatever party is in office as the banks & multi corporations owned by the 1% elite have lost control of the global economy; partly because of wanting to punish the working classes for trade union actions after the second world war but mostly because they have impoverished the main purchasing markets in Europe & the USA.

Plenty of predictable knee jerk reaction here.

There are plenty of vehicles built in the UK, all of which compete on terms of quality with the German badges that the UK buyer is so dishearteningly attached to: Nissan, Toyota, Honda, Jaguar, Land Rover. Ford hasn't built a car in the UK for years, and the simple fact of lfe is that Southampton was the most inefficient of their Transit plants. If you boycott their product for such tenuous reasons now you'll be putting plenty of other people out of work too.

I am acutely aware of the pressure that Ford of Europe is under, and if they hadn't taken action then the Southampton plant would have gone under at one point or another in any event.

You have no right to criticise a company if you haven't been buying their product, and in spite of what petegeoff says (below), Ford build an extremly good quality and reliable vehicle - being in the leasing industry I see that at first hand. If only MB or VW had their reliability record! Anyone who believes otherwise is living in the past. You'll be telling me that FIAT cars rust away before your eyes next!
Quite why we have to have such a reactionary response in what is now a global market leave me baffled. If it had made economic sense for Ford to continue building the Transit in Southampton, then they would surely have done so.

I suggest you remember this next time you go visiting a car showroom.

Typical. Not one gram of ethics. I live forty kilometres from Genk, where the decision of the Ford management has caused a shockwave. The best defence is perhaps to shout as loudly as we can that we don't agree with the policies of those rogue multinationals. Who knows, we might end up getting heard...

Ford could have invested to raise efficiency at Southampton? I live near Southampton and the factory has not seen any real investment since the 70s.
Ford took the tax money knowing all to well the next step. This is not about global, it's about theft of tax payers money, and lies.

Brits largely buy German.
Especially with AE endorsing everything that comes from that particular country.

Ford did the dirty on their Visteon spinoff plants. In Beltast they protested outside a Ford dealer for a while after the Dunmurry ex-Ford plant was closed down with no guarantee on pension promises previously made.

Short memories though, as everywhere I look I see Fiestas, Focuses and even slow-selling Mondeos!

Transit production shift to Turkey has been in the works for a long time now .... I heard about it very early in 2012 ... so last Ford vehicle production line in UK closing is no surprise .... was one of lowest producing assembly lines in UK anyway

We have the answer for supporting the boys in Southampton. Don't buy a ford, new or used.