May 18, 2020

Coronavirus: Bridgend Ford return to work marks 40 years

Ford's engine plant in Bridgend is restarting production after a nearly two-month shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. Within a few weeks of the Bridgend plant opening, Ford announced only 1,400, not 2,500 people, would be employed there because of a slump in car sales. The new range of Ford Escorts - with Bridgend producing 2,000 engines a week for them - were in car showrooms by the end of September 1980. As well as changes in demand for cars and the drive for efficiencies - the past decade has seen Bridgend making engines for Ford cars made elsewhere in Europe but not in the UK. The writing was on the wall when investment in a new petrol engine, called Dragon, was scaled back, as production was due to end for the engine Bridgend made for Jaguar Land Rover. Today, only about a quarter of the 30 companies in the automotive sector around Ford 40 years ago still exist but have been replaced by others - there are now more than 70 components suppliers along the M4 corridor and valleys alone.

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