Ford Motors prepares to shut down its Blanquefort gearbox plant located in southwestern France if no buyer can be found for the site, which has hired 900 workers, the U.S. automaker said on Thursday.
Ford management provided a closure plan to unions at the factory to include layoffs and early retirements that may take effect from September 2019, the company stated.
However, a Ford spokesman stated the company was in discussion with one potential buyer it refused to identify, citing a non-disclosure agreement. Transmissions supplier Punch Powerglide is in talks with the automaker over the plant, according to unconfirmed local press reports.
In a different statement, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire referred Ford’s layoffs plan as premature while a deal to salvage the factory and its jobs remained possible. Le Maire “strongly regrets this decision,” his office stated.