The Bridgend plant in south Wales is to be the main European build location for Ford's new global 1.5-litre EcoBoost petrol engine.

Today's (22 April) announcement follows a GBP12m package of investment in the plant by the Welsh government. This will see employment at the facility rise to 2,300 workers, the highest in the 33 years that Bridgend has been in operation. Ford says 2,668 four-cylinder engines are currently built there daily, with exports to Spain, Sweden, Germany, Russia, Belgium and the USA. This delivers a claimed annual export value of GBP1.5bn.

Ford of Britain managing director, Mark Ovenden, said: "The Welsh government has greatly assisted in maximising the full potential of Ford’s own investment in Bridgend and we are pleased to meet today with the Welsh first minister and the minister for economy to recognise this successful partnership."

Of particular interest is how Ford refers to the production location for build of the new 1.5 EcoBoost. The company says Bridgend will be "long term European production base", with production due to start in 2014 and then ramp up over the following two years. The 1.5 will be built alongside the 1.6-litre EcoBoost engine, which was introduced in 2011. European build of the new engine will initially be at Craiova in Romania but this will be a temporary measure.

Author: Glenn Brooks