Ford is committed to gradually electrify its vehicle lineup in Europe, which prompted EV related investments at several plants on the continent. However, not all sites will be included in the company's future.
According to the Wall Street Journal and Reuters, Ford's factory in Saarlouis, Germany is expected to be sold, as the company intends to stop producing the Ford Focus at the site in 2025.
As we know, Ford would like to put a total of nine all-electric models on the market in Europe by the end of 2024, including the Ford Mustang Mach-E, imported from Mexico.
The plant in Cologne, Germany will produce two all-electric models based on the Volkswagen Group's MEB platform.
Ford also started production of the Ford E-Transit in Turkey in April 2022 (the future of a local battery joint venture is not yet certain), and later will add an electric version of the next-generation Transit Custom (passenger and commercial version).
In Romania, the electric Puma and an all-electric version of the next-generation Transit Courier (passenger and commercial version) are expected in 2024.
The plant in Valencia, Spain has been selected as the preferred site to assemble electric vehicles based on a "next-generation electric vehicle architecture", but it's not yet confirmed that the investment will happen. Meanwhile, the Halewood Plant in the United Kingdom will produce electric drive units.
This leaves the Saarlouis plant without any EV assignment and only 2-3 more years for Ford Focus production.
It's expected that Ford will decide to sell the plant and a buyer might be selected this quarter. Among around 15 potential investors are companies from the energy and automotive sectors, including the Chinese BYD, Magna and VDL Nedcar.
BYD would be an especially interesting choice, as the company would like to expand its electric car business in Europe and a plant in Germany would be a very interesting asset. According to media reports, Ford officials were set to travel to China this week to meet with BYD representatives and discuss the potential agreement. We guess that Magna would be an interesting option too as it already has high experience in producing BEVs and PHEVs for various OEMs in Europe.
In other words, maybe the Saarlouis plant will not produce electric Ford, but there is a very high chance that the factory will produce electric cars for other brands.
The only bad news is that regardless of the agreement, in the short-term Ford is expected to announce job cuts in Europe, even at sites that were assigned to future EV projects. That's the consequence of challenging market conditions in Europe.