Ford is today announcing new actions on the Dagenham Estate. The main actions are:

* The construction of a new, high technology diesel engine manufacturing facility - the first new, major building on the Dagenham Estate for 30 years.

* A reduction in the number of voluntary separations at Dagenham Vehicle Operations by the first-quarter of 2002 from the 1,900 announced in May this year to 1,300.

Total employment on the Dagenham Estate after the first-quarter of 2002 now will be over 5,000 people, and Dagenham will remain London's largest industrial centre.

New Diesel Manufacturing Facility At Dagenham

Ford has announced the construction of a new diesel engine manufacturing facility on the Dagenham Estate. The new building, called the 'Clean Room' Assembly Hall, is the first new, major building at Dagenham for 30 years.

The 'Clean Room' Assembly Hall - which will be one of the most modern manufacturing facilities in Europe - forms part of the $500 million investment in diesel engine manufacturing and engineering over the next five years announced for the Dagenham Estate on 12 May, 2000. It will significantly boost diesel engine production capacity at Dagenham from today's level of around 650,000 units per annum to up to 900,000 engines each year by 2004.

The building will be constructed on land currently owned by the London Development Agency.

"The demand for diesel engines in Europe is expected to continue to grow substantially over the next decade," said David Thursfield, President, Ford of Europe. "It is essential that Ford equips itself with a high-technology manufacturing and engineering facility in order to best meet this expected growth in customer demand and to ensure we can beat best-in-class competitive performance in terms of product innovation and the introduction of new diesel engine technologies."

The 'Clean Room' is a large building development of approximately 30,000 square metres in size, and will be located on the site once occupied by the Ford Foundry at Dagenham. Construction work is projected to start in the first-quarter of 2001 and will take approximately a year to complete.

The new building will feature an ergonomically-designed, open-plan environment and will make extensive use of lean manufacturing systems and principles - all intended to maximize efficiency at the facility.

The 'Clean Room' will provide a state-of-the-art environment for diesel engine assembly. The assembly of future Ford diesel engines will be established in the new building: assembly of current diesel engines will be re-located to the 'Clean Room' when there is a requirement for significant new investment in each of the present engine architectures.

The existing Dagenham Engine Plant (DEP) facility will focus on engine machining for both future and present diesel engine programmes. The 'Clean Room' and the existing plant together will form the Diesel Business Centre on the Dagenham Estate, and suppliers will be based on a supplier park near to the Centre.

"Over past years, the DEP is recognized as having produced high levels of performance coupled with the flexibility to take account of business situations and opportunities as they arise. It is this track record of success that has generated the confidence to establish and expand Dagenham as Ford's centre of excellence for diesel engines with the creation of the new Diesel Business Centre," stated Mr. Thursfield.

New employment opportunities at Dagenham Engine Plant

To meet an immediate increase in diesel engine demand at DEP and to support the introduction of common rail diesel engine technology by 2001, 290 hourly-paid employees will be transferred from Dagenham Vehicle Operations to permanent positions in the DEP between now and January, 2001.

This action, together with the European Restructuring Review announcement on 12 May to establish 230 new hourly-paid positions in diesel manufacturing at Dagenham, will result in the creation of over 500 new permanent hourly-paid jobs. These positions are in addition to the 240 diesel powertrain engineers from the Ford Dunton Engineering Centre who will move to the 'Clean Room' facility.

Other Dagenham-related actions

Volunteers are being sought from Dagenham Vehicle Operations to transfer to 40 new permanent hourly-paid jobs in Ford's Southampton Plant, the home of the Ford Transit. These new positions are available immediately and will support the launch of the all-new Ford Transit. Employees taking up this offer will be eligible for full relocation assistance that has been enhanced specifically for redeployments associated with the Dagenham programme.

A voluntary retirement programme is also announced today with immediate effect for 120 hourly-paid and up to 20 salaried staff in Dagenham Vehicle Operations. Preference will be given to employees who wanted to take voluntary retirement during the summer voluntary programme, but who were unable to be released at the time.

It is expected the voluntary retirement programme will generate around 50 hourly-paid vacancies in the Dagenham Press Shop, and this will provide the opportunity to place 50 more hourly-paid Vehicle Operations employees in these permanent positions, together with a smaller number of salaried staff.

These actions support Ford's commitment to meet the necessary headcount targets at Dagenham Vehicle Operations by either voluntary separation or redeployment to other areas in a measured and practical manner.

In order to progress to an orderly run-down of Fiesta production at Dagenham, Ford also announced today the line speed in Vehicle Operations will be reduced from 570 to 400 vehicles per day. This will not affect the availability of Ford Fiesta models to our customers in Britain. The Ford Fiesta remains Britain's best-selling new car in the B-segment of the market, with sales of over 76,300 year-to-date.

"The result of today's announcement plus other ongoing actions over the past few months means that after the first-quarter 2002, Ford will employ over 5,000 people on the Dagenham Estate. The Dagenham Estate will continue to remain London's largest industrial centre," said Mr. Thursfield.