A CLOUD of uncertainty looms over the giant Southampton Ford plant, the Daily Echo can reveal.
Top-level bosses say the tough economic times make it impossible to guarantee the long term future of the plant and the safety of the remaining jobs.
Even the motor giant’s plan to build chassis cabs at the Ford plant may be in jeopardy, it has emerged.
Speaking exclusively to the Daily Echo, Ford in Britain’s new commercial vehicle line director Steve Adams said he and the entire Southampton team would have to fight to safeguard the future of the factory and its 500-strong workforce.
He went on to say that,while the company’s board had given the green light to the current model chassis cab being built in Southampton, approval for vehicles in the new model range had yet to granted.
Mr Adams said: “The position we are taking right now is that we are focusing our attention around the chassis cab versions.
“That is what we have told the workers and that is our planning assumption as it stands right now.
“What we will be doing in the future will be tied in with the planning approval process.
“Also, as we see the future unfolding, we will confirm what we are planning to do as far as Southampton is concerned.
“Probably in about 12 months’ time we will have a much better idea of Southampton’s long-term future.”
Mr Adams added the best way to ensure the plant’s future place and stave off threats from competitors was to continue to make vans of an exceptional quality and see to it that employees at all levels of the company are “pulling in the same direction”.
The new question marks will send shockwaves across the shop floor for workers, who saw more than 500 colleagues take redundancy earlier this year.
Staff have also experienced long periods of production downtime and seen the once thriving hub of manufacturing reduced to a single shift.
News that output was to be slashed, jobs cut and production of the iconic Transit van exported to Turkey came to light last year when the Daily Echo exclusively published a leaked memo.