We recently reported about Ford’s future plans for the European continent. We have more details surrounding this new strategy but again, we have no good news for the company’s employees. According to a new report, Ford could sell one of its main plants in Europe to China’s Build Your Dreams (BYD).
The Wall Street Journal reports company executives will soon meet their colleagues from the Chinese manufacturer and discuss the potential sale of the Saarlouis plant in Germany. Everything is still in the very early stages and may ultimately fall through, but there are positive signs from both sides that a deal could actually happen.
Gallery: BYD Yuan Plus
The Saarlouis factory is currently producing the Focus but the hatchback will be discontinued in the middle of the decade. Last summer, Ford selected its plant in Valencia to build the company’s next-generation electric vehicles. The manufacturer’s Cologne production site will also play a significant role in the firm’s target of selling only electric vehicles in Europe by the end of the current decade.
In June last year, Ford said it is expecting "significant" job cuts at the Saarlouis where the company currently employs 4,600 people. According to the new report, the Blue oval is seeking alternatives for vehicle production in an attempt to keep as many of those employees as possible. It is said that Ford is in talks with about 15 potential investors, though details surrounding a potential deal remain a mystery for now.
BYD is reportedly the most interested party in buying the Saarlouis plant. The manufacturer was the biggest seller of PHEVs and BEVs combined last year and is currently looking into expanding its operations in Europe with local production.
As for Ford, it wants to rebuild its business on the continent and focus on electric vehicles and niche models from the US market. As a part of the process, Ford will cut a substantial portion of its workforce in Germany, especially at the Cologne plant where the Fiesta is currently produced.
Note: BYD Plus pictured in the gallery.
Source: WSJ via Automotive News