PARIS -- Ford plans to close its Blanquefort gearbox plant in southwestern France if no buyer can be found for the site, which employs 900 workers, the automaker said in a statement on Thursday.
Ford management presented a closure plan to unions at the factory to include layoffs and early retirements that may take effect from September 2019, the company said.
However, a Ford spokesman said the company was in talks with one potential buyer it declined to identify, citing a non-disclosure agreement. Transmissions supplier Punch Powerglide is in discussions with Ford over the plant, according to unconfirmed local press reports.
In a separate statement, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire described 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 said.