Steve Clary, Ford’s Commercial Vehicle boss has predicted a bright future for the best selling Transit Van without offering any reassurances as to the long term future of the Ford Swaythling plant – which is an employer to many Eastleigh workers.
Writing in the latest edition of the company’s in house magazine ‘Ford News,’ Mr Clary claimed that the recession had bottomed and predicted that sales of the popular van – now largely built in Turkey -could double within 5 years turning the UK from a net exporter of vans to a net importer.
Two years ago the Swaythling plant was building up to 84,000 vans a year but last May 500 workers – including 150 from Eastleigh – were made redundant leaving a depleted workforce struggling to assemble 25,000 vans a year for the home market while the majority of vehicles continue to be assembled at the Turkish sister plant.
Complete closure of the Ford plant would be a further blow to industrial manufacturing in the South of England which has been in sharp decline during the last decade.
Good news for Ford is not necessarily good news for the rest of us: