Ford's Saarlouis plant in Germany and the Michigan assembly plant in the US are preparing for the manufacturing launch of the next-generation Ford Focus. 

The new Focus is built from Ford's new global C-segment platform, which will account for more than 2m units of annual production by 2012.   

From mid-November almost 500 people currently employed on agency contracts at the Ford Saarlouis Plant will be offered permanent contracts ahead of the start of assembly of the new car on 6 December.

The Saarlouis plant - which celebrated its 40th anniversary this year - will be the single source for next-generation Ford Focus production in Western Europe, producing all three Focus bodystyles - four-door, five-door and wagon - while production at the Michigan assembly plant will concentrate on the four-door and five-door derivatives.

Manufacturing will be expanded further in mid-2011, when Ford's plant in St. Petersburg, Russia, begins building the new four-door and five-door models of the Focus. 

Production in the Asia Pacific region will begin in early 2012, when the Chongqing plant in China, comes on line.