Craiova now replaces Fords Chennai plant as source for European sales of the EcoSport

Craiova now replaces Ford's Chennai plant as source for European sales of the EcoSport

Production of the revised and facelifted Ford EcoSport SUV has begun at Ford's Craiova, Romania, plant.

Ford says it is investing up to EUR200m in Craiova to build EcoSport and that the model creates 1,700 new jobs at the plant.

The decision to build the EcoSport in Europe rather than continue to import the vehicle from Ford's plant in Chennai, India, will help Ford respond to rising customer demand, it says.

"EcoSport is another example of how Ford is growing our business on our strengths – including world-class SUVs," said Steven Armstrong, Ford group vice president and president, Europe Middle East and Africa. "With demand growing for EcoSport, and compact SUVs in general, now is the right time to localize production in Europe to meet our customers' needs."

Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, Prime Minister Mihai Tudose and other senior national and local officials joined nearly 4,000 Ford workers as the first of the new EcoSports rolled off the lines.

Ford says that total industry sales of SUVs in Ford's 20 European traditional markets grew by 27% last year and accounted for more than one in four new passenger car registrations. Ford's SUV sales in Europe grew more than 30% in 2016 and have risen by 27% in the first eight months of 2017.

By year-end, Ford is creating another 1,700 jobs at Ford Craiova, bringing the total workforce for both vehicle and engine production to 3,900.

Craiova becomes sole source for European EcoSport sales

Craiova is now the sole source of EcoSport production for Europe (excluding Russia), supplying 56 markets on four continents. This includes markets as diverse as the United Kingdom, New Caledonia in Oceania, Turkmenistan in Central Asia, and South Africa.

The Ford Craiova plant will continue to produce Ford's 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine.

Ford says the new (faceliifted) Ford EcoSport offers enhanced versatility and capability, more refined interior and exterior styling, plus a range of new technologies such as Ford Intelligent All Wheel Drive, which provides improved on- and off-road traction. A new 1.5-litre EcoBlue diesel engine delivers up to 125 PS.

The EcoSport is also is available for the first time as a sporty, Ford Performance-inspired EcoSport ST-Line model.

According to just-auto/QUBE's PLDB analysis of future new product an all-new EcoSport (codenamed B515) is due in 2019.

See also: Ford announces revamped EcoSport for Europe