While the West Midlands remains the spiritual home of the increasingly beleaguered British car industry, Dagenham in Essex has been the real powerhouse. Its future now seems in doubt. How important is Dagenham? The Ford plant at Dagenham is one of the UK's largest car factory. It employs nearly 8,000 of the automobile company's 30,000 British workers. The car assembly line alone is manned by more than 4,500 people.