JUST 200 extra Transit vans have been built at Southampton’s giant Ford factory as a result of the Governments' scrappage scheme, it has been revealed.
In total the £400m Government investment has seen an extra 1,000 of the vans bought – but only one-fifth of those has been made in the city.
The rest have been made at Ford factories in Germany, Thailand and Turkey, the company confirmed.
The figures come as workers prepare for a second production shutdown of two weeks from October 19 to 30.
Union boss Nick Chaffey said the news would hit those on the shop floor hard. He said: “It is a race to the bottom and workers must be feeling nervous.
After all, the last time they were put on downtime the workforce was halved.
“For a long time we have felt Ford have an exit plan to leave the UK and 200 extra Transits isn’t going to change this.’’
However, Ford bosses denied there were any planned job cuts and said the scrappage scheme would protect Southampton jobs.
Thomas Fischer, Southampton plant manager, said: “This week’s scrappage scheme renewal is an important move which inspires consumer and business confidence, as well as bringing good news for van
“It is the cue for Ford to build on the 1,000 extra vans sold to scrappage to date, which is positive for the environment, safety and Ford Southampton jobs.”
The first signs of question marks over the plant came last year when the Daily Echo exclusively published a leaked memo which revealed the factory’s future was under review.
After pressure from the paper the motor giant later confirmed it had plans to cut jobs, slash production and export production of the iconic Transit.
What is the scrappage scheme?
LAUNCHED earlier this year, the scheme offered a £2,000 discount on new vehicles when motorists trade in vehicles that are more than 10 years old.
It initially had £300m of Government funding.
This was upped by a further £100m last week and the rules amended so commercial vehicles only eight years old qualified under the scheme.
Of the £2,000 given to the motorist, £1,000 comes from the Treasury and £1,000 from the car companies.