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Ford shuffles European production

Tue, 14 Jun 2011

Ford Motor Co. said Tuesday it is realigning its European production in a move that will add two models at the carmaker's Valencia, Spain, factory and an electric version of the Focus at the Saarlouis, Germany, plant.

Ford also said the B-Max small wagon will be built in its Craiova, Romania, factory and the plant will add a second, as-yet-unnamed small-segment model.

Ford of Europe said the realignment will improve capacity utilization and productivity, and support its product-led growth strategy.

Ford plans to launch at least 20 all-new or significantly freshened vehicles in Europe over the next three years. The automaker outlined its production plans in a statement on Tuesday, which said:

-- The next-generation Transit Connect small van and Kuga SUV will be built in Valencia. Currently, the Transit Connect is built in Kocaeli, Turkey, and the Kuga in Saarlouis.

-- Saarlouis, which recently started production of the redesigned Focus, will build the Focus Electric starting 2012. The plant also will produce the next-generation Focus.

-- Ford's plant in Cologne, Germany, will build a freshened version of the Fiesta that goes into production next year, as well as the next-generation Fiesta.

-- The Cologne engine plant will begin producing the carmaker's new fuel-efficient 1.0-liter three-cylinder EcoBoost engine later this year.

-- Craiova will build the B-Max starting in early 2012 and also will manufacture a second B-segment vehicle in the future. The plant also will begin producing the new fuel-efficient 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine in early 2012.

-- Kocaeli will build an all-new light commercial vehicle in addition to the next-generation Transit commercial vehicle and will continue to provide engineering for the next-generation Transit Connect to be built in Spain.

-- Ford's plant in Southampton, England, will produce the chassis cab derivative of the next-generation Ford Transit.

In a statement, Ford of Europe CEO Stephen Odell said: "We've come through the worst of the economic crisis as a strong and profitable company, and we have a full pipeline of exciting vehicles coming to market. Now we are taking the right actions to grow profitably in Europe."

Under the plan, Ford's assembly plants in Valencia and Saarlouis will be dedicated to manufacturing C- (compact-) segment vehicles, while Cologne and Craiova will build B- (subcompact-) segment vehicles and small fuel-efficient EcoBoost engines.

By Paul McVeigh- Automotive News Europe