Ford Motor Company has started production of the new Ford EcoSport small SUV at its Craiova, Romania, assembly plant.
Ford has invested €200m in Craiova to better serve demand in Europe, where SUVs are the fastest-growing vehicle segment. Previously, Ford had imported the vehicle from its plant in Chennai, India.
“EcoSport is another example of how Ford is growing our business on our strengths – including world-class SUVs,” said Steven Armstrong, Ford group vice president and president, Europe Middle East and Africa. “With demand growing for EcoSport, and compact SUVs in general, now is the right time to localize production in Europe to meet our customers’ needs.”
Total industry sales of SUVs in Ford’s 20 European traditional markets grew by 27 per cent last year and accounted for more than one in four new passenger car registrations. Ford’s SUV sales in Europe grew more than 30 per cent in 2016 and have risen by 27 per cent in the first eight months of 2017.
By year-end, Ford is creating another 1,700 jobs at Ford Craiova, bringing the total workforce for both vehicle and engine production to 3,900. Ford’s total investment in its Romanian world-class facility now exceeds €1bn since it took over the plant in March 2008.
Craiova is the sole source of EcoSport production for Europe – excluding Russia – supplying 56 markets on four continents. The Ford Craiova team also will continue to produce Ford’s 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine.
In a statement, Ford said the EcoSport offers ‘enhanced versatility and capability, more refined interior and exterior styling, plus a range of new technologies such as Ford Intelligent All-Wheel Drive, which provides improved on- and off-road traction.’