BLANQUEFORT, France - Ford pledged to maintain 1,000 jobs for five years at a factory in southwestern France under an agreement signed Friday on aid and incentives to keep the transmission plant running.
The agreement signed by representatives of Ford's management, union members, and local and regional officials clears the way for 12.5 million euros (US $16.2 million) in public aid.
The national government will also provide support in financing unemployment benefits and training.
Ford Europe vice president Jeff Wood said the main challenge for the factory, located in the town of Blanquefort, was to launch production of new products given the current struggles of Europe's car sector.
The plant is expected to begin building in July a new automatic transmission model destined for export, with others to be added next year.
Ford sold the plant to German company HZ Holding in 2009, before buying it back in January 2011.
The signature of the deal comes a day after Ford announced it would stop making vehicles at its unprofitable Australian plants in 2016 and axe 1,200 jobs.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2013