Ford chief offers jobs hope
Motoring giant Ford's 100-year connection with Ireland may be about to continue.
The door has been left open by founder Henry Ford's great-grandson, William Clay Ford, on a visit to Ireland to celebrate the centenary of setting up a manufacturing plant in Cork.
Mr Ford, executive chairman of the Ford Motor Company, was asked if the manufacturing of cars was gone forever in Cork - the plant at Marina closed in 1984. He responded: "No, not necessarily gone, but the future is more software than hardware and that is where Ireland can tap into.
"Ireland is really well positioned as manufacturing becomes more efficient and the need for a huge manufacturing footprint is different to when my great-grandfather opened a plant here."
His comments come as IT companies such as Google and Apple - the biggest private employer in Cork - tap into the future of motoring by testing driverless cars. Ford is one of the pioneers in this field and does not welcome the looming competition from outside the motoring sector.
Mr Ford said: "We are willing to take on all comers. We would rather be friends, but we are willing to punch it out if we have to."
Ford is spending $4.5bn (€4.2bn) to develop 13 new hybrid electric vehicles.