In recent findings, it was revealed that Ford is attempting to sell its production facility in Saarlouis, Germany. While Ford announced earlier its plan to cut 3,200 jobs in Europe, the mention of selling Saarlouis was not found. According to the Wall Street Journal, the automaker is meeting with BYD, who is possibly looking to buy the plant. The amount was not disclosed.
Ford’s production location in Saarlouis currently produces the Ford Focus compact car, which is already slated to end production in 2025, leaving the production location in limbo until another product can be found. But with Ford creating so many new production locations in North America, it isn’t immediately clear that the company will need the facility, but that doesn’t mean nobody does. The Wall Street Journal states that as many as 15 separate investors, such as BYD, are considering buying the facility as Ford leaves in the middle of the decade, with executives from the American and Chinese companies meeting in the coming days. The 14 other potential buyers were not listed, but include financial institutions and manufacturers alike, says the Journal.
This closure comes as Ford continues its aggressive electrification plan in Europe, which it has previously warned, could come at the cost of jobs in the region. Hence the involvement of the German labor union, which is looking to mitigate some of the job loss, at least in Germany. The Blue Oval’s electrification plan is far more positive in North America. It has resulted in countless new job opportunities as the automaker opens battery production locations, two new massive assembly facilities in Tennessee and Kentucky, and upgrades older plants such as “the Rouge” in Michigan. Ford will be investing $22 billion in electrification globally by 2025, with an additional $8 billion in what Ford calls its “boost” battery technology. Whether Ford sells its German production plant or not, the automaker’s European branch is headed for a tumultuous time over the next few years. Hopefully, electrification can occur while limiting the negative impacts, while still delivering EVs to customers as quickly as possible.
The talks to sell are still in the preliminary stage, and a deal may ultimately fall through. In addition to BYD, Ford is also talking to other manufacturers, including Magna International Inc., a Canadian contract auto manufacturer, and financial investors, who could potentially join with a manufacturer, the people said. “We’re investigating various options for the future and sustainable use of the Saarlouis site. As part of this process we are in ongoing discussions with a number of potential buyers and have nothing further to add at this time,” a spokesperson for Ford said according to the Wall Street Journal.