There are reports that Unions will be calling for a ballot asking Dagenham employees whether they support industrial action. The Company has not yet received official confirmation of this ballot.

Ford can confirm that the plan to cease vehicle production at Dagenham Body and Assembly Operations by the first-quarter of 2002 was made on sound business criteria and will be implemented. The plan for Dagenham forms part of a major restructuring of Ford's European operations announced on 12 May in a key move to drive the Company back to profitability and strong, sustainable growth.

As part of the European restructuring strategy, Dagenham will become more technology-based as Ford's global centre for the manufacture of diesel engines. Also, some 240 engineers currently based at the Dunton Engineering Centre will move to the Dagenham Estate as part of the new totally-integrated diesel engineering and manufacturing team.

Total investment on the Dagenham Estate over the next five years will be $600 million. Dagenham will continue to be London's biggest manufacturing facility with around 4,500 people employed on the Estate after the cessation of vehicle production by the first-quarter of 2002.

In February, Ford announced the move to single-shift operation at the Dagenham Body and Assembly plant, effective from August 2000. This required 1,350 employee separations which has been achieved on an entirely voluntary basis.

As a result of the 12 May announcement, a further 1,900 voluntary employee separations will be sought at Dagenham as part of the transformation actions, though around 500 new positions will be created on the Dagenham Estate by the increase in diesel engineering and manufacturing capability on site.

The voluntary separation packages being offered to employees, plus the extensive Employee Support Actions programme announced by Ford on 12 May, are industry-leading. Ford also hopes the unions and Government will be involved in the joint Advisory Board which will oversee the Employee Support Actions programme.

Ford believes the Europe-wide restructuring strategy is necessary for the Company's future and to leave the situation unaddressed would threaten the viability of all Ford's plants in Europe. Therefore, the restructuring remains unchanged from that announced on 12 May.