Ford’s Bridgend plant in Wales has produced its 15 millionth engine following a production boost to meet increased demand for new cars due to the various scrappage incentive schemes across Europe.

Volumes was up 18.3% year on year last month, helping the plant to the 15m landmark earlier than expected. The UK government this week extended its scrappage scheme which offers buyers trading in old vehicles a discount of up to GBP2,000.

The plant started production in 1980 and specialises in engines for Ford’s small and medium cars, which are both favoured by scrappage schemes and are enjoying higher sales as drivers switch to smaller, more economic models.

The I4 engine range comprises 1.25, 1.4 and 1.6-litre versions. The 15 millionth engine coincided with the five millionth current four cylinder unit since production began in 1998.

Output for Ford accounts for around 80% of Bridgend production with the balance six- and eight-cylinder engines for Volvo and Jaguar Land Rover.

Bridgend plant manager Graham Edwards said: In these tough times it’s refreshing to report good news, with extra production scheduled last month and again in September to keep up with demand.  The plant’s outlook is positive too following this month’s announcement that our 1.6 EcoBoost debuts in the new C-Max next year.”

From mid-2010 Bridgend will build the 1.6-litre Eco Boost motor with direct petrol injection, turbocharging and twin variable valve timing technology to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by up to 20%.