Ford and Venari Group said they had signed a memorandum of understanding for a new alliance to further cooperation between the two businesses on emergency vehicles.

The Ford Venari Alliance brings together Ford, the UK market leader in commercial vehicles and Venari, the UK’s largest emergency service vehicle provider, in plans to manufacture the all-new, lightweight front-line ambulance – unveiled by the automaker and Venari earlier this year. Based on the Transit chassis cab and developed under Project Siren, the lightweight ambulance was designed with input from industry experts and front-line medical teams.

The lightweight ambulance is intended to be produced at a new facility in Ford Dagenham from 2022, utilising an existing, non-production location that will be “refreshed” to accommodate its manufacturing requirements. It is anticipated that the new business will create around 100 new jobs once production begins.

Integral to Ford Pro, Ford’s new business for distribution and services, the alliance marks the start of plans to grow and develop opportunities with key conversions partnerships, ensuring customers from every vocation have access to specialised vehicles.

“The Alliance builds on Ford’s plans to re-establish its presence in the UK ambulance market by working with the UK’s leading ambulance builder, and supports our wider ambition of growing OUR market presence through strategic alliances with key vehicle converters,” said Paul Baynes, manager, Marketing and Sales, Ford Pro Vehicle Solutions, Ford of Europe.

Project Siren used an agile, collaborative process and direct customer input from NHS Ambulance Trusts to create the ambulance which is designed to improve patient treatment and ease of use for paramedics. Advanced digital connectivity supports efficient restocking and vehicle maintenance, while the lightweight design helps reduce emissions and operating costs associated with using heavier vehicles.

The new, lightweight design is compliant with the national specification advocated by the Lord Carter Report, offering all the equipment and capability of a front-line ambulance within a 3.5-tonne gross vehicle weight. The lightweight design also has been developed to provide a future-proof solution for ambulance operators looking to transition to zero-emission fleets.