Ford's commitment is based on building an Escort-derived 'multi-activity vehicle' (MAV) at the troubled Merseyside plant, new diesel engines at Dagenham and a new Transit van, and guarantees the long term survival of Halewood and the Southampton Transit plant. Dagenham was also confirmed as the long term home of the Fiesta and lead plant for the next generation supermini.
Unions called off their strike ballot after hearing the initial 1,300 job losses at Halewood announced last month would be reduced to 980. The present Escort will continue to be built at Halewood until 2000 and thereafter, the new MAV will start to be built on Merseyside. Ford also announced it would continue to build the Escort van - originally due to be axed this year - and, from 1998 the Escort estate at Halewood until the end of the decade.