shares in this article
SAARLOUIS (dpa-AFX) – Ford (Ford Motor) is expected to announce on Wednesday if future electric car is made in Saarlouis or Valencia, Spain. In Saarland, the tension among 4,600 workers is enormous – and the fear that despite all efforts and concessions, they will get nothing.
“Every year since 2018, Ford management has told us that a future plan for Saarlouis is being prepared,” said works council chairman Markus Thal of the German Press Agency. “Now it will show how reliable Ford leadership is.”
At a working meeting on Wednesday (12.15), employees are to be informed about the future of the location after 2025 and the state of the tendering process. According to the works council, the meeting may be continued the next morning depending on the outcome.
Ford is one of the largest employers in the Saarland. Prime Minister Anke Rehlinger and Economy Minister Jürgen Barke recently flew to Ford in Dearborn, USA, to fight for jobs. Then, last week, a management team of four, appointed by European boss Stuart Rowley, traveled to the Saarland for further talks. The Ministry of Economy confirmed that the meetings had taken place. Both sides agreed not to disclose the provisional status.
The company is also discussing the future of the Saarlouis location. “This is an internal process that has yet to be finalized,” a company spokeswoman said on Monday. “Only after the trial is over will we comment on it.”
According to the assessment of car expert Stefan Bratzel, the chances of a location in Valencia are greater. “At the moment, there is a lot to say, if you compare the current cost situation, that Valencia is likely to take part in the race,” said the director of Bergisch Gladbach Automotive Management Center. There are now also large supplier parks around Valencia.
The question is whether Saarlouis can be held in any way, even less, said Bratzel. “But that takes more models.” The Focus, which is produced in Saarlouis, can run a little longer than 2025 if desired.
Barke was convinced last week that the Saarland plant would not have to close. “At the moment I am optimistic that if the decision is made in a transparent, fair process, we have a good chance of getting the order.” As long as he knows and interprets numbers, Saarlouis has the advantage.
However, Barke made it clear that the award of Valencia would not lead to any further concessions. Europe has a clear grant system: grants that can be awarded have an upper limit. In addition, both locations are in the same funding environment. “We have done our best to show all the financially possible, legally permissible and justified on the verge of financing possibilities in a thick package” – he concluded. “I believe we are in a very good position with the package and that we can survive any fair decision in the interests of Saarlouis.”
According to the works council, the uncertainty as to which location should receive the contract has been straining the nerves and health of colleagues for months. “Many are very afraid of their jobs,” said the head of the works council, Thal. Even the announcement by Rowley, Ford’s manager, that a prize for one location does not automatically mean the end of a second location did not bring relief. “To this day, no one knows what that statement means,” Thal said on Monday. “Ford must have perspective for Saarlouis and Valencia.”
The new chairman of the Saarland’s CDU parliamentary group, Stephan Toscani, called for a perspective in the face of cuts that Ford’s Saarland workforce has already supported. “Now a decision is needed for the safe future of the Ford plant in Saarlouis.” This is fundamental for the entire Saarland./ksp/DP/zb car location
The leverage must be between 2 and 20