The Ford Motor Company is to purchase a 72.4 per cent stake in the Craiova vehicle manufacturing plant from the Romanian government for €57m.
Ford has also committed to invest another €675m to upgrade and modernise the plant. By 2012, the company expects to be spending around €1bn a year in Romania to support its operations there. It says that employment levels at the plant will almost double, from the existing 3,900 to 7,000.
‘While I do not want to be too specific at this stage about the vehicle we shall be building in Craiova, I can confirm that we will start with a small car and we expect up to 90 per cent of vehicle production to be exported,’ said Ford of Europe President and CEO, John Fleming.
Ford intends to make the Craiova facility a cornerstone of its European manufacturing base and a key element of its plan to increase sales in Europe to over two million units per year.
It plans to upgrade and modernise the plant by building a new, automated 1,000-tonne press line, as well as automate the existing production lines in the Craiova press shop.
Ford will also install a new body construction shop, modernise and expand the capacity and flexibility of the paint shop operations, and furnish new equipment and tooling in the trim and final areas of assembly.