Back to the future for Ford

Ford Dunton celebrated the site’s 40th anniversary this week by demonstrating a prototype Ford Focus low-carbon ECOnetic model, which will be available in spring 2008.

The Basildon-based Dunton technical centre, and Ford’s Dagenham-based diesel engineers, are working together to develop the eco version of the 1.6-litre Ford Focus TDCi, which will be capable of 65.7mpg whilst emitting only 115g CO2/km. This will be followed by ECOnetic models of the Ford Fiesta and Mondeo.

Graham Hoare, head of Ford Dunton, the UK‘s largest automotive research centre said: ‘Our award-winning powertrains and products are continuing to win acclaim around the world and Dunton is the centre of excellence behind many of them. The success of our commercial vehicles, evidenced by Ford Transit as International Van of the Year 2007, is key to our sustained business profitability.’

The centre was opened on 12 October, 1967 after a £10.5m investment by Ford, bringing together engineers from 10 different R&D sites around Essex, the Midlands and Southampton. It has been involved in every vehicle produced by Ford in Europe, including the Fiesta, Ford’s first venture into the small car market.