The government says Ford has doubled down on its commitment to the UK as its European hub for electric vehicle powertrain production thanks to £600 million of backing from UK Export Finance.

£750 million investment facilitated through the Export Development Guarantee (EDG) scheme – with UKEF guaranteeing £600m – will support high-skill manufacturing jobs and ‘turbocharge Ford’s transition towards electrification’.

Citibank Europe PLC were the sole coordinator and agent on the loan to Ford. There were six participant lenders who all have an equal share in the facility.

“Our support for Ford is great news for jobs in Essex and Merseyside and British manufacturing as a whole,” said International Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch.

“Ford is a major employer in the UK and the high-skilled jobs it provides help communities to thrive.

“We have consistently backed Ford as it makes its critical transition towards electrification. Boosting electric car production is key to our strategy to combat climate change and today’s news demonstrates how our manufacturing industry, our exports and our economy will benefit from this transition.”

This announcement builds on previous government support for Ford’s EV expansion. In July 2020, a £625m UKEF EDG facility helped to finance its global vehicle research and development headquarters in Dunton in Essex.

In October 2021, a £230m investment was supported by BEIS’ Automotive Transformation Fund (ATF), which aims to electrify Britain’s automotive supply chain. This investment funded phase one of the powertrain production line in Merseyside.

Ford is one of the UK’s largest exporters. Engines and transmissions are transported from its facilities in Dagenham and Halewood to 12 countries on five continents.

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The UKEF-backed loan will initially support a £125m investment to fund phase two of its electric vehicle powertrain manufacturing hub in Halewood, Merseyside, making the North West a centre of excellence for electric vehicle production in Europe.

The Halewood plant’s electric powertrain volume is due to increase from 250,000 units to 420,000 units per annum as a result of the UKEF support. That’s a near 70% increase. It will provide a major boost to the manufacturing capability of the UK, its EV supply chain and UK exports generally.

Ford estimates the investment will help secure 500 jobs at Halewood.

The loan will also help protect Ford’s ability to deliver Engineering Services in Dunton, Essex. A key feature of the UKEF EDG product is that it provides liquidity for Ford to use across their business as required. 

This liquidity is crucial for Dunton and will enable Ford’s flagship R&D facility to develop the light commercial vehicle business, design new powertrains and vehicles, pilot new assembly lines for electrified components and train and upskill engineers and apprentices for the transition from internal combustion engines to battery electric vehicles.

Ford estimates the investment will secure thousands of jobs at Dunton.

Tim Slatter, chairman of Ford UK, said: “This is an all-important next step for Ford towards having nine EVs on sale within four years. 

“Our UK workforce is playing a major role in Ford’s all-electric future, demonstrated by Halewood’s pivot to a new zero-emission powertrain, and Dunton E:PriME’s innovation in finalising the production processes.”

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