Trevor Negus, currently manager of Ford's Broadmeadows car assembly plant in Melbourne, has been appointed plant manager of the company's Transit van assembly facility in Southampton, on England's south coast.

Australian-born Negus will take up his new appointment next month.

He joined Ford Australia as a graduate trainee in 1987, working in the purchasing organisation before moving into Broadmeadows vehicle assembly operations. There he held a number of assignments including area manager engine and chassis and plant manager stamping operations before his appointment as plant manager vehicle assembly in April 2001.

Broadmeadows was the launch pad for another former Ford Australia manufacturing executive's international career with the automaker.

One of Negus' predecessors, Phil Spender, moved from running the Melbourne plant to head Ford India's assembly plant in the 1990s. He then became president, CEO and COO at AutoAlliance International, in Flat Rock, Michigan, where he was responsible for the production launches of the Mazda 6 and 2005 Ford Mustang, and was next posted to Changan Ford as president last May 1.

Opened in 1953, the Ford Southampton plant - billed as the 'home of the Transit' - covers 52 acres and employs 1,440 people.

In 2004, production rose over 30%, to 70,674 units. Around 50% of output is exported.

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