Ford is in negotiations with a potential investor for its Saarlouis (Germany). In a statement sent to Just Auto, Ford said it has this week signed initial agreements with the Saarland government following “extensive negotiations with a major investor”.

The investor is not named, but reports earlier this year suggested that Chinese vehicle maker BYD could be in the frame to take over the Ford Saarlouis plant when it ends production of the current Focus model in 2025. Other bids are said to have been on the table.

Ford’s statement also described the latest developments as a “big step” to achieving the goal of pursuing the transformation of the Saarlouis plant and creating future employment opportunities.

“This is an excellent basis for further negotiations with the potential to create around 2,500 jobs in Saarlouis,” the statement added.

Ford is in the process of adjusting its European manufacturing footprint, reducing overall employment levels and also rebalancing activity towards electric vehicles. Ford announced last year that its Valencia, Spain, plant would receive investment for making electric vehicles on a next-generation electric vehicle architecture.

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BYD is also said to be looking at alternative sites in the European region, where it is busy adding models for sale in a number of markets.

When allocating future Ford EVs to European plants, Saarlouis was omitted and left with nothing in its future plan when it stops making the Focus model in 2025.