WORKERS at the Dunmurry car component manufacturuer Montupet received a massive confidence vote yesterday as the French owned business confirmed it has won a six year contract with Ford worth £200 milion.
The deal will see the plant, based on the former De Lorean works site, produce the new Panther cylinder head for use in engines bound for sale around the world.
The factory which employs around 550 people produces a wide range of alloy castings including engine components and wheels for a number of companies including Renault, Citroen and Peugeot.
The plant already produces the Puma cylinder head and will switch to the Panther head in 2015. It will be shipped to the Ford engine plant in Dagenham as well as other production centres in Turkey, South Africa and China.
The announcement is in stark contrast to the decision by Montupet to close the Calcast plant Londonderry almost four years ago the day.
Almost 100 jobs went at the plant which made cylinder heads for a 4.6 litre ‘gas guzzler’ engine used in large Ford 4x4s.
The new components, however, represent the latest advances in engineering technology.
“Securing this production order is very good news for the future of the plant as it will safeguard jobs and require significant investment in new plant and machinery,” said Montupet UK managing director Jim Burke.
“Winning this order emphasises the ability of the Dunmurry plant to compete in the global automotive marketplace, offering both quality and expertise while remaining economically competitive.
“Montupet’s commitment to expanding the skills of our employees, embracing new technology and improving our processes is helping to safeguard the Dunmurry plant’s position in the international marketplace.”
Congratulating the firm on the win, Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said: “This is a significant export order for Montupet UK which will secure the employment of over 100 people currently employed on the Puma production line beyond 2020.
“This result follows investment in skills development, new technology and lean manufacturing processes supported by Invest Northern Ireland which helped to position Montupet’s Dunmurry site at the leading edge of casting industry efficiency and excellence.
“Against a backdrop of globally competing manufacturing bases, this news is a great boost for Northern Ireland and will help to safeguard Montupet’s future in international markets.”