Ford in Talks to Sell Plant to Burgeoning Chinese EV Company: Report

Chinese automaker BYD is reportedly considering the purchase of a Ford Motor Company factory in Europe. The Wall Street Journal said Tuesday that Ford is discussing a potential deal with BYD for its plant in Saarlouis, Germany. The U.S. automaking giant plans to cease production of its compact, gas-powered Focus model in 2025. “Terms of the deal, including a price, couldn’t be learned,” the Journal reported. Ford officials plan to visit China next week to discuss the deal, which the Journal said is “still in a preliminary stage and … may ultimately fall through.” The deal would be Ford’s latest move to steer away from gas-powered vehicle production and produce only electric vehicles, the Journal reported, adding that “[i]t would also be a major step for China’s electric-car industry, which has begun expanding into European markets.” BYD, which is backed by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, had a strong year in 2022, becoming one of China’s top three automakers, according to CNBC. Nearly a year ago, Ford announced “bold steps toward [an] all-electric future in Europe,” laying out plans to launch three new electric passenger vehicles and four new electric commercial vehicles in Europe by 2024, with plans to sell more than 600,000 electric vehicles in the region by 2026. The company’s global goal is to produce more than 2 million EVs by 2026. Ford also aims to “achieve zero emissions for all vehicle sales and carbon neutrality across its European footprint of facilities, logistics and suppliers by 2035,” according to the March 2022 news release. The shuttering of the Saarlouis plant will eliminate about 4,600 jobs, according to Autoblog. The plant opened in 1970 and has produced several models, including the Escort, Capri and Fiesta. “Ford’s decision to idle the plant drew a dark cloud of disapproval from German unions, and officials claim that the company pledged to keep up to 700 people employed after car production ends in 2025 by using the plant to build unspecified components,” the site reported. Ford plans to build its European EVs at two other plants: a main plant in Cologne, Germany, and another one in Valencia, Spain, according to the Journal. BYD has had a European presence since 2017, when it opened a factory in Hungary that assembles electric buses and does research and development, Autoblog reported. This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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