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Ford donates last Transit off Swaythling production line to Southampton
And today, 41 years later, one of the last vehicles to emerge from the now defunct factory has been presented to the city’s latest mayor.
At 11am today, in front of the Guildhall, Cllr Ivan White (below) accepted the keys to a minibus which will be made available for community groups.
The plant in Swaythling closed last month as Ford decided to move its Transit production plant to Turkey.
The firm is building a vehicle refurbishment centre at the factory site and a vehicle distribution centre in the docks, which are both expected to open next month, while discussions over the future of the former transit plant site continue.
Following the closure, the automobile giant decided to present three Transit vans to commemorate the link between Ford and Southampton.
Two minibuses were donated to Naomi House children’s hospice and The Cedar School, and the third will be now used by dozens of community organisations.
Ford Southampton’s operations manager John Oldham handed over the keys to the nine-seater Transit, which will be available to community groups for hire at low cost, and will also be used by the council for minibus driver training.
Speaking ahead of the presentation, city council leader Simon Letts said: “While it is a sad day with the closure of the Transit assembly plant, Ford is still retaining a significant presence in Southampton at the docks and at the plant site – with the establishment of vehicle refurbishment and distribution centres.
“We are also working hard with Ford to bring vibrant and exciting opportunities to this site, so that we secure a bright new future and create new jobs. I would like to thank Ford for the donation of this Transit minibus, which will be used to benefit community organisations in the city.”
Mr Oldham said: “We are delighted to be able to provide this Transit minibus to Southampton City Council for the benefit of the local community.
“Ford is investing £12 million in new and expanded operations created in Southampton and we are pleased to still be an active partner in this community.”
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