Ford Bringing EcoSport Production to Craiova Assembly in Romania
Ford has confirmed what had been suggested in a report from Automotive News Europe last month, announcing that it will be investing €200 million into its Craiova Assembly Plant in Romania to support production of the Ford EcoSport. Production of the small SUV, which is currently built at Ford India’s Chennai Vehicle Assembly Plant, is said to be kicking off at the plant in the fall of next year.
The shift in production is predicated upon the understanding that SUV sales in Europe have risen at an astounding rate and are likely to only continue growing. Sales of SUVs in Europe were up 23% last year, and the EcoSport’s segment grew in sales by 44%. Ford anticipates that sales of small SUVs will grow by an additional 1.5 million units per year by 2017, which would be a 35% improvement over those impressive 2015 numbers.
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“EcoSport sales are up nearly 30 percent this year and given the continued outlook for sales growth in the small SUV segment, it’s the right time to move EcoSport production to Europe and take advantage of the excellent workforce and operations we have in Craiova,” said Jim Farley, president and CEO, Ford of Europe.
Ford currently builds the Ford B-MAX in Craiova, as well as the award-winning 1.0-liter EcoBoost. The automaker has poured almost €1 billion into Romanian manufacturing since 2008, and it did not rule out the possibility of bringing more production to the region in the future.
“Craiova has a bright future if it continues to improve its competitiveness and operational flexibility. The recent successful agreement on a two-year labor contract was a very positive step,” Farley said. “We also need to continue to work with the government and local authorities to improve infrastructure and logistics.”
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