Ford has confirmed it will build the diesel engines for the next-generation Transit Custom van at its Dagenham factory in east London. The American company claims the move will “safeguard” jobs at the plant, which once famously built the Sierra and Fiesta models, but has since been turned over to engine production.

The next-generation Transit Custom will be produced at the Ford Otosan factory in Turkey from early 2023. It will also be built alongside the next-generation Volkswagen one-tonne van as part of the new joint venture between Ford and VW.

But the engines will continue to be made in the UK, and Ford estimates 60 percent of the Dagenham factory’s output will eventually be destined for Transit Custom and its Volkswagen cousin. Although Ford admits it expects two-thirds of commercial vehicle sales in Europe to be electric or plug-in hybrid by 2030, the company claims diesel will “continue to play an important role in commercial vehicle applications” over the coming years.

Aside from the Volkswagen connection, the factory’s role will not be dissimilar to the existing arrangement. At the moment, the Dagenham plant produces engines for the current-generation Transit models, which are built at the Turkish production facility.

Today, 30 percent of the engines shipped to northern Turkey return to the UK in the front of new vans, meaning the two factories account for roughly 10 percent of trade between the two countries. As a result, Ford suggested the post-Brexit trade deal struck between the UK and Turkey was “extremely significant” and “helped to secure jobs in both countries”.

“This is great news for the entire Ford Dagenham Engine Plant team and reinforces the strong relationship between diesel engine production at Dagenham and Transit vehicle production at Ford Otosan in Turkey,” said Martin Everitt, plant manager, Ford Dagenham.

And Ranil Jayawardena, of the Department of International Trade, said the news would protect jobs across the UK, including at the Dagenham Engine Plant’s suppliers and associated businesses.

“Today’s announcement is great news for Ford and its 7,500 workers across the United Kingdom,” he said. “Our trade deal with Turkey has helped to secure jobs by protecting supply chains for our great automotive manufacturers like Ford and has provided businesses with the confidence to keep investing in Britain. Trade has the power to create jobs, boost wages and bring economic growth to every corner of our country as we build back better from Covid-19.”