Car giant Ford is to expand its work on electric vehicles in Essex and Merseyside after receiving a £600 million Government-based loan.
UK Export Finance said this will support thousands of jobs and help the manufacturer increase its electric vehicle range from two models to nine.
Ford will boost the capacity of its plant at Halewood on Merseyside from 250,000 electric powertrain units per year to 420,000.
The loan will also help protect Ford’s ability to deliver engineering services in Dunton, Essex.
UK Export Finance is a Government-linked body which helps promote the UK’s export industry abroad.
International Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch said: “Our support for Ford is great news for jobs in Essex and Merseyside, and British manufacturing as a whole.
“Ford is a major employer in the UK and the high-skilled jobs it provides help communities to thrive.
“We have consistently backed Ford as it makes its critical transition towards electrification.
“Boosting electric car production is key to our strategy to combat climate change and today’s news demonstrates how our manufacturing industry, our exports and our economy will benefit from this transition.”
Tim Slatter, chairman of Ford UK, said: “This is an all-important next step for Ford towards having nine EVs (electric vehicles) on sale within four years.
“Our UK workforce is playing a major role in Ford’s all-electric future, demonstrated by Halewood’s pivot to a new zero-emission powertrain, and Dunton E:Prime’s innovation in finalising the production processes.”
Halewood currently builds transmissions for a number of Ford passenger and commercial vehicles, and exports all of its production.
Power units replace the engine and transmission in a conventional petrol or diesel vehicle.
Ford has committed to having all its passenger vehicles as all-electric and two-thirds of its commercial vehicle sales all-electric or plug-in hybrid by 2030.