From Southampton to Turkey: Ford close down Transit plant

The production of icon in the UK stopped last week, as car giant Ford moved its Transit line to Turkey from its home of over 40 years in Southampton.

Ford closed the doors on the doors to its Swaythling plant at the end of July where the American firm has been active since the 1950s, but “significantly lower” production costs in Turkey has seen the company up sticks to the other side of Europe to produce the latest Transit model.

As a result of Ford’s relocation, it’s bad news for those who worked at the Swaythling plant. Of the 531 employees in Southampton, just 175 will be redeployed across the company’s other establishments. In contrast, the closure has come at the same time as Bentley announced 1,000 new jobs at its factory in Crewe to produce its upcoming SUV.

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The plant in Turkey, located in Koceali, has been up and running since 2009 and has production figures much higher than that of Swaythling, with 185,000 vans being produced in 2012 at the Turkish plant compared to that of 28,000 in Southampton over the same period.

Since 1972, the Swaythling plant saw over two million Transit vans drive out of its doors, and it’s likely a few of them are on the open market among the best used vans.