Ford in Europe said its plant in Valencia, Spain, would assemble vehicles based on a new electric vehicle architecture.
Pending product approval, the Valencia plant could produce “breakthrough” electric and connected vehicles beginning later this decade, the automaker said.
Ford is also moving forward with a US$2 billion conversion of its Cologne, Germany, operations to begin producing electric passenger vehicles starting in 2023.
The European strategy calls for a line of electric vehicles, including an electric version of the popular Puma
and extending leadership in the commercial segment with electric vehicles and connected services. By 2026, Ford plans to sell 600,000 electric vehicles annually in Europe.
“We are committed to building a vibrant, sustainable business in Europe as part of our Ford+ plan, and that requires focus and making tough choices,” said Jim Farley, Ford president and CEO.
Continent-wide electric vehicle sales continue to grow rapidly (up 65% to 2.3 million in 2021) and the European Parliament voted earlier this month to set new CO2 targets for light duty vehicles, including a requirement that new sales be 100% zero emission vehicles by 2035.
Stuart Rowley, chair, Ford of Europe and chief transformation & quality officer, said: “Bringing our all-new electric vehicle architecture to Valencia will help us build a profitable business in Europe, secure high value employment and increase out offering of premium electric, high performance, fully connected vehicles that meet the demand of our European customers.
The decision followed the conclusion of comprehensive consultations with teams in Valencia, Spain and Saarlouis, Germany. Ford’s plant in Saarlouis will continue to produce the Focus passenger car while the company is also evaluating options for future site concepts.
Ford also reiterated its commitment to Germany as the headquarters of its European Model e business and the site of its first domestic European electric vehicle production. The Cologne Electrification Centre will start production in late 2023.
“Ford is investing heavily in electric vehicle manufacturing operations in Germany, and we are committed to the country as our headquarters location in Europe,” said Rowley. “We look forward to progressing this work with our partners in Germany and across the whole region. To secure new product in Europe we need winning product designs, outstanding technology and engineering, optimised sourcing and an evolution of our industrial operations to ensure they are fully oriented to an electrified world.”