Ford is to build a new small SUV – called Puma – at its Craiova, Romania, plant according to Romanian media.
Online news publication Romania-insider says that production of the new model will begin in the autumn of this year and will require some 1,700 new hires in addition to the 4,400 employees already working at the report (which builds the EcoSport SUV for the European market).
The report says that Puma will be presented at the Frankfurt Motor Show and will replace the EcoSport model. The company will also present a replacement for the compact SUV Kuga, Ford’s plan being to allocate more resources to the production of SUVs in Europe.
Ford has said it will restructure its loss-making European operations. Low-cost manufacturing facilities such as Craiova could emerge as winners from the restructuring process.
According to just-auto/QUBE’s PLDB research publication, Ford of Europe originally stated that it would have annual production capacity of 300,000 vehicles at Craiova by 2013. Half of this was to be taken up by the B-MAX. In March 2012, however, it said it planned to build around 60,000 vehicles at Craiova in 2012, rising to 105,000 vehicles in 2013. The Craiova complex includes a powertrain plant. This manufactures the 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine (direct injection, turbocharged, three-cylinders), with a 1.5-litre petrol engine added during the second half of 2013.
B-MAX production ended during the third quarter of 2017 due to the contraction of the vehicle’s segment, especially in Europe.