Ford forgoes LOSS aid by delaying plans to manufacture its new electric cars at Almussafes | Economy

The Ford multinational renounced state aid for the electric car with which it wanted to launch the production of a new generation of vehicles at the Almussafes plant (Valencia). The company, which has just announced a global reduction plan, took this decision after reviewing its production forecasts in Europe. According to company sources, this update means “a delay” in its “production plans for Spain”, so that it will not be able to take advantage of the resources of the Strategic Project for Economic Recovery and Transformation ( LOSS), which required that disbursements be produced before 2026. Sources from the Valencian Generalitat explained that the decision represents a “change of deadlines, not plans” for Almussafes. The manufacturer is not renouncing other financing formulas with central and regional governments in the future.

The firm announced last June that its Almussafes plant, which has 6,000 employees, was chosen to manufacture electric vehicles which he had to distribute among his European factories. “The Valencia plant is the one we have chosen as the factory of choice to assemble vehicles based on a new generation electric car architecture,” confirmed Ford Europe director Stuart Rowley at the time. The Valencian factory thus wins over the German factory in Saarlouis, which is also fighting for the same models.

The PERTE for the development of the electric and connected vehicle (ECV) has a relevant role in accelerating the transformation of the automotive industry and mobility as a whole. The tentative resolution of the LOSS filing appeal was released on August 2 and on Tuesday the allegations phase concluded. The government expects the official resolution to be launched in October. However, Ford decided this month to withdraw from the plan, which gave the firm-led consortium access to 106 million in aid, including 68.5 million in direct grants and 37.8 million in soft loans. . According to sources familiar with the process, the management of the car company communicated its decision a few days ago to the Ministry of Industry, whose officials, together with those of the Generalitat, held talks with the leaders of the ‘company.

According to the conditions of the LOSS, the investment was to be made with the horizon 2026 as the limit. And initially, the group’s plans were to manufacture the electric car from 2025. However, the new program set for Spain upsets this prospect, which prevents it from accessing public funding linked to Next Generation EU funds. . A spokesman for the Ministry of Industry said: “The resignation is due exclusively to a corporate decision that will redefine the timing and scope of the investments to be made in Spain, focused on a new platform of electric vehicles and on the new business model that will be associated”.

Despite everything, the firm insists that its electric car projects continue to pass through Valencia. “We want to strengthen the commitment to our plant in Valencia, as Ford’s operations in Spain continue to be a fundamental part of our strategy for Europe”, assures the group in a press release after the revelation of its exit from the plan. of financing. We thank the Spanish government for their cooperation and look forward to working with them and the Generalitat Valenciana to seek additional funding opportunities as we move towards a range of fully electric passenger vehicles by 2030.

The UGT union, which has the majority on the works council of the Valencian factory, has transferred peace of mind to the staff, “since there is no question of undertaking the investments that guarantee the new electrical platform”, to which the Ford management is committed to the agreement reached in Cologne with the union on January 27. The pact, says the UGT, “guarantees thousands of jobs under very good conditions”. Less optimistic are CC OO, which asks Almussafes for more information on the automaker’s plans, and CGT, which is worried about Ford’s decision.

“Change of deadlines, no plans”

Sources from the Valencian Generalitat insist that it is “a change in deadlines, not plans”. “This redefinition of the timing and extent of investments does not call into question Ford’s decision to invest in Valencia and Spain, which is a firm and clear decision for the Almussafes plant.” They add ministry sources, who would not specify how these LOSS funds will be reallocated. In total, the consortium of which Ford was part opted for a total financing of 106 million euros —68 million in subsidies and 37 in credits—, for which the regional government contacted the rest of the companies in the consortium to study formulas. which allow them, with European or Generalitat funds, to pursue their projects.

The Spanish factory began its electrification drive in October 2021 and three months later a labor agreement was reached at the Spanish factory, which included wage moderation, working on Saturdays. in addition and even recover the night shift to guarantee the supply of orders if, as has happened, it has established itself as the manufacturer of the next generation vehicles. Ford Motor’s resignation coincides with its plans to cut some 3,000 jobs, mostly in North America and India, as it restructures to catch up with Tesla in the race to develop software-powered electric vehicles, Reuters reported. .

Supply problems return to the factory

The management of the Ford plant in Almussafes (Valencia) has changed the dates of the four days of ERTE (file
regulation of employment) scheduled for the end of August and the beginning of September, due to the persistence of tensions in the supply chain. As reported by the UGT, the majority union on Ford’s works council, the management of the multinational automobile company has indicated that these tensions have been aggravated by the war in Ukraine and the impact of maritime traffic.

At the meeting of the Ford Spain ERTE follow-up committee held this Wednesday, the company modified the application schedule at the vehicle operating plant, so that the ERTE scheduled for this Friday is moved to Wednesday August 31 and that of September 2 and 5 to 22 and 23 of this month.

At the engine assembly plant, the ERTE which was scheduled for Monday August 29 has been moved to Friday September 23. Likewise, it has been reported that in the areas of vehicle operation and auxiliary services, September 1, 2, 5 and 6 will be used as industrial days, so they will be considered collective holidays. /EFE

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