Ford hopes to remain in the UK for 'quite some time' despite Brexit fears
Ford’s chief executive, Mark Fields, has assured Brits that the car manufacturer will remain in the UK for “quite some time” despite concerns over Brexit, however, he could not guarantee what would happen once the UK leaves the EU.
Speaking to the BBC, Fields repeated Ford’s position that a free trade agreement would need to be reached with the European Union.
“We need to make sure that all of our facilities around the world are globally competitive,” said Fields.
“We are very proud to be in the UK and we are going to be in the UK for quite some time but it’s going to be really important, particularly because Article 50 is now triggered, that from out standpoint there needs to be free trade between the UK and the continent.”
At present, Ford employs 13,000 people in the UK, with engine production lines in Dagenham and Bridgend.
When asked if Ford would continue to manufacture in the UK, Fields said he “can’t guarantee anything” adding “nobody can guarantee anything over many years.”
In recent years Ford, a US company, has been reducing its manufacturing arm in Europe, and stopped making vehicles in the UK in 2013 after more than 100 years.
“I think out intent is making sure that our UK business remains very strong and that’s why we’re engaging with governments to be able to say here’s what we think we need to make sure that that remains a possibility and we stay across the continent and in the UK and we have a healthy business in Europe,” added Fields, who was speaking in China, whilst unveiling Ford’s plans to substantially increase its electric vehicle manufacturing.
In January, industry trade body the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders admitted that uncertainty around Brexit had hit the UK’s car sector.