Ford is considering the possibility of placing more of its non-core European manufacturing
operations in joint projects with suppliers, writes the UK’s Financial Times.

Quoting Ford Europe chief executive David Thursfield, the FT reports that Ford’s
new joint venture with the German transmission group GETRAG, first announced
in May last year, might form a model for other parts of the business.

Thursfield added that over 550 million euros ($US510 million) will be invested
to develop the venture, completed after almost a year of talks between both

He also said that Ford’s forging, wheels and plastics operations could
be seen as potential areas for either supplier partnerships or disposal.

The world’s second largest auto-manufacturer is placing its European transmissions
operations in a jointly owned company, GETRAG FORD Transmissions, to supply
over 1.6 million manual gearboxes per year.

The FT says that under the Getrag deal, around 3,700 Ford workers from transmission
sites in Cologne, Bordeaux and Halewood, north west England, are to be transferred
to the new joint venture, with the Halewood plant expected to receive 180 million
euros of the new investment allocated for the project.

In the first year of operation, the new company is expected to reach DM1.7
billion in sales. Mr. Thursfield said that the business would be encouraged
to sell transmissions both to Ford, which has committed itself to participating
in the project for 10 years, as well as to other manufacturers.

The joint venture would contribute to better asset utilisation and an improved
fixed cost base at Ford of Europe, said Thursfield.