Ford Showing Plenty of Post-Brexit Confidence
12 Dec 2016
Ford was one of many companies taking the 'stay' side in the Brexit issue in the months leading up to last summer's vote. Their position was one of the UK economy, and the auto sector in particular, being best served by remaining in the EU. Now that the vote has come and gone, a resilient Ford UK is showing plenty of post-Brexit confidence.
Over the last several months, Ford UK has invested some £100 million in its Bridgend plant in Wales. In September, the company committed to preserving at least one-third of the existing Bridgend jobs through until 2020. Right now, the plant employs approximately 1800 individuals, although it's unclear if the entire local workforce will remain intact for the next 4 to 5 years.
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According to Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns, Ford's commitment to the Bridgend plant and its employees demonstrates confidence in both the local operations and the UK economy. If Ford were planning to pull out on fears that the UK will not remain part of the single market, the company would not be putting so much money into Bridgend.
Government Support Still Necessary
While it's true that all the signs coming from Ford are positive at this point, officials in Wales believe government support is still necessary. They don't believe now is the time for retreating on pledges to support certain sectors in the wake of a pro-Brexit vote. To that end, Welsh MPs are imploring the government to provide Ford with the same support they offered Nissan earlier in the year.
Back in October, the Japanese car maker announced it would be bringing several new models to its Sunderland plant after assurances of government support. That support was necessary to keep Nissan in the UK. MPs believe that while Ford may not necessarily need the same level of support, it certainly deserves it. The company has been an automotive leader in the UK since coming here at the turn of the 20th century. To let them suffer now just doesn't seem reasonable.
The Single Market Question
Central to whether Ford continues to enjoy financial success in the UK or not is how the single market issue pans out. On the one hand, there are economic experts convinced there is no possible way for the UK to remain part of the single market. On the other hand, Theresa May's government has been sending subtle signals that it would be willing to pay the EU to remain active in it.
The question for companies like Ford is whether they could continue to compete in Europe if the single market were no longer an option. Ford probably could, seeing that it has been the best-selling car maker in the UK for decades. Other companies may not be so fortunate.
Ford UK is showing plenty of confidence despite the fact that we still have very little information about Brexit negotiations. Their confidence should not be overlooked. Ford officials know economics, and they are optimistic about the future.
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