It’s the end of an era, as production of Ford’s workhorse – the Transit van – shifts from Britain to Turkey with the loss of hundreds of jobs.
Some of the more than 500 workers who have been building them will be employed at a new vehicle distribution centre Ford is setting up at the same location. Others will transfer to a Ford engine plants in Wales and Dagenham near London. The rest have taken voluntary redundancy or early retirement.
After 40 years, the Swaythling plant, which is near Southampton, on the south coast of England, has shut. During that time some two million of the iconic vans have been built there.
They remain a top seller in Britain, a favourite with all kinds of tradesmen and delivery companies, they were shipped from the UK all around the world.
The latest Transit will be produced at Ford’s plant at Gölcük on the outskirts of Istanbul.
That factory opened in 2009 and is much bigger than the UK facility was.
It produced 185,000 vans last year, compared with Swaythling’s output of 28,000.