By Andra Beltz
The Ford plant in Craiova launched on Tuesday the production of the new EcoSport SUV for the European market to cover, according to the company, the increasing demand of its customers.
The representativs of Ford Europe said on Tuesday that for the production of the new model, the company invested about 200 million euros in Craiova and will employ another 1,700 people, so at the end of the year the factory in Dolj County will have 3,900 employees.
"EcoSport is a new example of how Ford builds its operations based on the benefits of its own range - implicitly based on world-class SUVs." With the rise in demand for EcoSport and generally for SUVs in this category, "said Ford vice president and president of Ford Motor Company Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Steven Armstrong.
The Craiova plant will be the only Ford unit where the EcoSport model for Europe (except for Russia) will be produced. In total, the factory will deliver the Ford SUV on 56 markets across four continents. These include very diverse markets such as the UK, New Caledonia (Oceania), Turkmenistan (Central Asia) or South Africa. Along with the new EcoSport, Ford Craiova will continue to produce the Ford 1.0 EcoBoost engine, the only winner of the title "The International Engine of the Year" for four consecutive years.
The launch of EcoSport production was attended by President of Romania, Klaus Iohannis, Prime Minister Mihai Tudose, other representatives of the central and local public administration, and nearly 4,000 Ford employees when the first EcoSport model was released from the assembly line of the Craiova plant.
According to the company's data, sales of SUVs in the 20 important European traditional markets for Ford rose 27% last year and accounted for a quarter of total car registrations. Ford SUVs grew in sales by more than 30% in 2016 and rising by 27% in the first eight months of 2017.
"SUVs also mean more jobs. By the end of the year, Ford raises 1,700 new positions at Ford Craiova, with a total of 3,900 jobs in vehicle production and engine production The total investment that Ford has made in the top production complex in Craiova since March 2008, when it took over the facilities, exceeds one billion euros, "said Ford.
The new Ford EcoSport offers a high level of versatility and enhanced capabilities, a refined interior and exterior design, and sophisticated technologies dedicated to its customers, such as the Intelligent All Wheel Drive, which improves road and road grip and grip these. The advanced 1.5-liter EcoBlue diesel engine develops up to 125 hp and offers an optimized emission level. The redesigned cabin offers easier-to-use and soft-touch controls, a new center console and more comfortable seats. EcoSport is also available for the first time in a sporty ST-Line, inspired by the Ford Performance range.