Ford is in talks to sell a German plant to China’s BYD

Berlin-

Ford Motor company

F -0.04%

It is in talks with the Chinese electric car maker

BYD company

1211 -0.09%

about selling a plant in Germany, according to people familiar with the discussions.

officials from

stronghold

F -0.04%

The company’s management in Germany plans to travel to China next week to discuss the possible sale of a plant in Saarlouis, since car production is scheduled to end in 2025. Ford produces its Focus compact model there. The terms of the transaction, including the price, could not be known.

The talks are still in their initial stage, and an agreement may end up being reached. In addition to BYD, Ford is also talking to other manufacturers, incl

Magna International company ,

People said that a Canadian contract automaker and financial investors could get on board with one of the manufacturers.

“We are examining various options for the future and sustainable use of the Saarlouis site. As part of this process, we are in ongoing discussions with a number of potential buyers and have nothing else to add at this time,” said a Ford spokesperson.

Representatives for BYD and Magna could not be reached for comment.

The sale of the Saarlouis plant marks another step in Ford’s effort to overhaul its European operations and shift fully to electric vehicles. It will also be a major step for China’s electric vehicle industry, which has begun to expand into European markets.

BYD is the largest electric vehicle manufacturer in China by sales, Inc The largest electric vehicle market in the world. The company already sells some electric vehicles, including buses, in Europe. The purchase of the plant would give BYD a stronghold for further expansion on the continent, where there is strong market growth for electric and hybrid vehicles.

Ford announced the end of production at Saarlouis in June. It employs about 4,600 people there, but said last year that future electric vehicles for Europe would be built at its plant in Valencia, Spain and its main plant in Cologne, Germany.

German union officials said this week that Ford has guaranteed that up to 700 people working in Saarloo will continue to build components after car production ends in 2025. Labor representatives are negotiating about retaining additional staff, but the future of the bulk of the workforce is uncertain. .

If BYD and Ford reach an agreement, it would be a major milestone for the Chinese company, which last year sold 1.86 million electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, three times more than the previous year.

The potential investment follows expansion into Europe before

Tesla company ,

which last year began production Electric cars are in the new plant near Berlin.

Write to William Boston at [email protected]

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