Ford Bridgend expansion creates 600 jobs

Ford's recent expansion at the Bridgend Plant has provided 600 jobs as the company brings on stream a second assembly line producing V8 engines destined for the company's top marques.

Ford said that the $425 million (£253 million) Bridgend investment package, first announced in early 2001, would take capacity at the plant from 600,000 to one million engines per year by 2010.

Commenting on the expansion Ford's European Manufacturing VP, John Fleming, said the whole Bridgend team could be proud of reaching this landmark in the plant's investment programme. He said: "Employees have shown they have the flexibility and dedication necessary to launch successfully such a key product in the plant's range."

The 4.4-litre V8 petrol engines, being built at the company's South Wales plant will first appear in the all-new Land Rover Discovery 3 that debuted at the New York Auto Show.

Joe Greenwell, chairman and CEO of Jaguar and Land Rover, said: "Jaguar and now Land Rover are among Bridgend plant's completely satisfied customers. This is an example of a Ford Motor Company facility supplying engines to different parts of the organisation without compromising any of its brands."

The innovative production facility features the first moving assembly line section to be installed in any European Ford engine plant - the line operators move with the engines they are working on, a feature which Ford claims leads to increased efficiency.

The Bridgend plant, which was already producing V8 engines for Jaguar's luxury saloons and sports cars, also assembles engines for Ford's Fiesta and Focus Zetec ranges.

Gerwyn Lloyd, Bridgend plant convener, added: "We have worked for many years in a genuine partnership here at Bridgend and the professional and mature attitude of the workforce to accept changes and meet commitments has attracted work.

"In the UK generally it is difficult enough to maintain employment levels, so it is a real coup to increase employment levels and go against the trend of manufacturing in the UK."

Opened in May 1980, the Bridgend plant currently employs 1,500 people and Ford anticipate that this will rise to around 2,000 in the next three years.


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