Ford revealed on Friday (24 June) that it could consider job redundancies in the UK. "[We] will take whatever action is needed" to keep the operations competitive, the American automaker said. This comes after UK voted to leave the European Union.
The Michigan-headquartered company has a total of 14,000 employees across Bridgend, a town in Wales and Dagenham, a suburb of east London. It is understood to have manufactured 1.6 million engines at these sites in 2015.
The company said, "[We have] made no changes to our current investment plans and will not do so unless there is clear evidence that action is needed." However, it added, "We would expect that the combination of a softer industry and a weaker sterling would have an adverse impact on our operations in the long term."
This would, however, not be the first time that Ford would cut UK jobs. Back in 2012, the company shut two of its UK plants that had then resulted in thousands of job cuts. Apart from UK, Ford has been scaling down its manufacturing capacities across Europe since the 2008 financial crash, according to The Financial Times.
As recently as in May, Jim Farley, chief executive at Ford's European business had said that the company was considering options to reduce costs. "I don't think a 113-year-old company would be thriving if it didn't always look at its structural costs", he had then said.
The current remarks make Ford, the first automaker to raise doubts about the future of its investments in the country. Other automakers such as Toyota, Jaguar Land Rover and Honda have, however, indicated their commitment to their UK manufacturing operations. German luxury car maker BMW said it would not speculate about Brexit's impact on its business and added that there was "no immediate change".
Analysts have said Brexit could have an impact on the taxes or duties that may have to be paid by automakers on cars exported from the UK. They said that this could be an important factor that automakers will consider before allotting more work to manufacturing facilities in the UK.
Nick Gill, automotive expert at Capgemini, said: "If I'm a carmaker and I'm taking a decision on where next to place my model, are you going to do it in a market that's small with concerns around currency and its distribution into other markets, or will you put it [in a place] with safety in currency and a large market for sales?"