Ford is running out of options in the search for a new investor in its Saarlouis plant in Germany, where it produces the compact Focus model, which is set to retire in 2025. The only potential investor remaining has pulled out, leaving 4 400 jobs threatened.
It has been widely reported that Ford’s switch to electrification is costing thousands of jobs, with Germany and the UK being hit the hardest in Europe. The Cologne plant has been trimmed down in its transformation to an ‘Electric Vehicle Center’, but Ford sees no real future in its Saarlouis plant, where the Focus is currently produced.
Potential investor pulls out
The German plant has been threatened since 2022, when Ford announced it would build its next-generation European EVs in Valencia, Spain, instead. Since then, Ford has been searching for a new investor for the plant, with Chinese automakers BYD and Chery apparently showing interest.
Now, however, the situation seems dire for the 4 400 workers of the Saarlouis plant. The last potential investor has pulled back, leaving Ford with no concrete remaining options. Ford has told its workers that it is pursuing an alternative plan, transforming the plant into a technology center, which would save 1 000 jobs at the site.
However, the unions are not happy with this news. IG Metall has threatened action, with representative Joerg Koehlinger stating: “This will be expensive for Ford. We will send a signal so that other companies will be afraid to flatten sites.”
This could mean that Ford will have union strikes in Europe as well as in the US, where the Big Three automakers have been hit by a strike since mid-September in a quest for better pay for auto workers.