Fleet News

Ford UK on defensive over chairman's snipe at production levels

FORD'S UK bosses have given a defensive, but determined response to warnings from the chief executive of the global company that production levels must improve if job losses are to be avoided. The storm clouds over this country's 21 Ford plants were cast by Sir Alex Trotman, Ford chairman and chief executive.

At the Confederation of British Industry conference he said he believed a combination of poor productivity and global over-capacity in the car market were major factors in the gloomy outlook. Production at Dagenham and Halewood are 20% down compared to Ford's other European and US plants while there is already an over-capacity of cars worldwide of about 40%. Ford employs nearly 28,000 people at 21 plants in the UK.

Refusing to single out Dagenham or Halewood, Trotman said: 'There is a risk to every factory that we have in the world if we don't match up to competitive standards. It is very much likely there will be some shrinkage of the workforce.' To blame, he said, were work practices, excessive indirect labour and infrastructures 'among other things'. He said Ford was 'feeling the heat of global competition', and that had led to a cut in production at Dagenham because of a drop in export sales.

In response to Trotman's warnings a Ford spokesman said: 'We've made a lot of headway in the UK over the last decade, particularly in terms of productivity and quality but the goalposts are always moving.'

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