Business Minister Mark Prisk has signed the paperwork for Ford’s EIB loan and Government backing for low carbon engine development at Ford’s technical centre at Dunton, Essex.
Ford of Britain has taken a £450 million loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB), which the Government has backed with a £360 million loan guarantee.
Ford is investing £1.5 billion over the next five years for the development of a new generation of environmentally friendly engines and vehicle technologies.
The Dunton site is one of four that will benefit from the investment, which the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills says wil safeguard around 2,800 skilled jobs. The others are Ford’s manufacturing plants in Dagenham, Southampton and Bridgend in South Wales.
Ford of Britain is the biggest motor company in the UK and employs over 35,000 people from product development and manufacturing to sales. Around 100,000 people are employed directly or indirectly through Ford UK’s whole value chain.
Joe Greenwell, Ford of Britain chairman, said: “This European Investment Bank loan, and the loan guarantee from the UK Government, will help to unlock up to £1.5 billion in low carbon and environmentally-friendly engine and vehicle technology investment over the next five years.”
Mark Prisk, who was also accompanied by Simon Brooks, vice president of the EIB, toured the laboratories where engineers put vehicles and engines through rigorous testing from extreme climates to crash simulators.
Mr Prisk said: “Ford has an impressive track record in research and development. Its investment of £1.5 billion over the next five years is a great opportunity to take the lead in developing low carbon manufacturing. This backing from the Government will help to ensure the long term success of manufacturing in the UK.”
European Investment Bank Vice President Simon Brooks said: “The European Investment Bank is pleased to support Ford’s cutting-edge engine research and development in Dunton and Dagenham and the company’s upgrading of manufacturing operations in Bridgend, Southampton and Dagenham, in particular through the European Clean Transport Facility. A new generation of low emission engines and more fuel-efficient vehicles will develop new skills and innovation across the United Kingdom, and these new vehicles will make a significant contribution to combating climate change.”