Ford started production of the new Ford S-MAX and Ford Galaxy on Tuesday at its assembly plant in Genk, Belgium.

The new models go on sale in the major European markets next month.

Ford plans to manufacture approximately 86,000 new S-MAX and Galaxy models this year. At full capacity, Genk can build up to 550 S-MAX and Galaxy vehicles a day, together with 600 Ford Mondeo cars that are also produced at the plant.

Ford has invested more than €715m in flexible manufacturing systems to produce the new models on the same line as the Mondeo. The flexible system allows Ford to adjust the sequence and production quantity of different vehicles.

Genk will also produce the next generation Mondeo from 2007.

The plant currently employs 5,000 employees. This figure excludes an additional 1,700 workers at the supplier park, adjacent to the assembly plant. Last year 207,163 vehicles were produced at Genk .

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Ford Genk Assembly Plant Key Facts:

  • Name of plant: Genk Assembly Plant
  • Location: Genk , Belgium
  • Current Ford product line-up: Mondeo, S-MAX, Galaxy
  • Product history: Taunus, Transit, Escort, Sierra, Mondeo
  • Start of production: January 1964
  • Cumulative production 1964-2005: 12.6 million units
  • Capacity per annum: 270,000 units
  • Number of employees: 5,006 (as of Dec. 31, 2005 )
  • Employee diversity: Belgian, Turkish, Italian, Spanish
  • Site area, floor space: 137 hectares, 57 hectares
  • Number of supplier companies in supplier park: 10