Ford’s German factory will stop building the Focus in 2025, but 1000 jobs are safeguarded until 2032.
The Ford Focus factory in Saarlouis, Germany, will remain open until at least 2032 if it hasn’t been sold by the time the popular model bows out in 2025.
The news comes following a lengthy period of uncertainty for the Saarland site after Ford announced it would retire the Focus in 2025 in line with a shift in focus to EVs.
Making that announcement last June, then Ford of Europe boss Stuart Rowley said: “We don’t have in our planning cycle an additional model that goes into Saarlouis,” suggesting that selling the facility to another company was a possibility.
Ford ultimately chose to build a range of upcoming EVs based on a new global architecture in Valencia, Spain, leaving the future uncertain for Saarlouis’ 4600 employees.
But now, in a letter to staff seen by Automotive News Europe (ANE), Ford employees representative Markus Thal has confirmed that around 1000 workers will be retained until 2032 as operations continue beyond the Focus’s lifecycle – an “intermediate step”, he said, towards solidifying the factory’s future.
According to ANE, daily output will go from 860 Focuses per day to 600 from 1 April, but a yearly capacity of 117,000 remains the objective.
Ford has confirmed it will no longer build cars in Saarlouis after 2025.
Asked by Automotive Daily Network partner Autocar recently if a decision had been made on the site’s future, Ford of Europe boss Martin Sander said: “We’ve made the decision. We announced that we aren’t going to build vehicles any more after the run-out of the Focus. 2025: that’s what we’re planning at the moment.”
It had earlier been suggested that talks were advancing with other manufacturers, and indeed Sander suggested that “a wide range of interesting interested parties” were involved.
Most notably, Chinese car giant BYD, which is considering European production in the coming years, was named as a potential buyer for the site.
The possibility of Ford selling the site remains, however, according to an official statement sent to Autocar that read: “Ford’s plans in Saarlouis are unchanged. After 2025, Ford will no longer be producing vehicles in Saarlouis, and we are actively speaking to potential investors interested in purchasing the Ford plant in Saarlouis.
“Ford is prepared to maintain a small number of acitivites at the plant in Saarlouis in the event the plant has not been sold by 2025.”
Ford has already detailed a significant investment package to transform its Halewood plant in the UK into an EV-drivetrain manufacturing facility and will continue to build diesel engines in Dagenham; while the Fiesta factory in Cologne, Germany, is being repurposed as an ‘electrification hub’ that will produce the new Explorer and its upcoming sibling, set to be called the Capri.