Wales

Ford Bridgend: No decision yet on Ineos 4x4 location

Ford plant in Bridgend Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Ford opened in Bridgend in 1980 - but is due to close the plant in 2020

No final decision has been made by Ineos Automotive on whether to build its new 4x4 in Bridgend.

The company has been deciding between the Ford site and another in Portugal for months.

Ford announced last week it would close its Bridgend plant in 2020 with the loss of 1,700 jobs.

However, one industry expert previously told BBC Wales that producing Ineos Automotive's new off-road vehicle would create no more than a few hundred jobs.

The UK and Welsh governments are in talks with companies about investment at Ford's Bridgend site.

Ineos Automotive plans to build a vehicle inspired by the Land Rover Defender, which went out of production in 2016.

It had already been in talks with Ford about producing its new vehicle at the engine factory.

There had been speculation that Ineos was no longer interested in the site but it is understood Bridgend could still be in the running.

Image copyright Ineos Automotive
Image caption Sir Jim Ratcliffe said the Grenadier aims to be the "spiritual successor" to the Land Rover Defender (left)

Who are Ineos?

  • Ineos has 171 manufacturing facilities in 24 countries
  • It began in 1998 and has acquired companies including BP, ICI, Dow and BASF
  • It has 19,000 workers, sells 60m tonnes of petrochemicals a year and has a turnover of $60bn
  • The major shareholder is chairman Sir Jim Ratcliffe, ranked third in the Sunday Times rich list with a personal fortune estimated at more than £18bn
  • It sponsors the former Team Sky cycling team, which includes Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas
  • Its automotive division is behind Projekt Grenadier - an idea dreamt up in a London pub of the same name - which aims to plug a gap in the market after Jaguar Land Rover stopped producing the Defender.

Prof David Bailey, an automotive industry expert from Birmingham University, has said it is unclear how many cars would be produced or how profitable the model would be.

A leaked letter from the UK government to Ineos, seen by BBC Wales, promoted the Bridgend bid which included highlighting the skills of the local workforce.

Jaguar Land Rover, which previously manufactured the Defender, is also developing a new model of the off-road vehicle which Ineos Automotive would be in competition with.

A taskforce is being set up to find a future for the Ford Bridgend site and officials have been approached by Wales-based firms, according to Economy Minister Ken Skates.

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