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GERMANY: Saarlouis starts on redesigned Ford Focus

By Graeme Roberts | 6 December 2010

Saarlouis is Europes Ford Focus sole-source plant

Saarlouis is Europe's Ford Focus sole-source plant

Ford began volume production of the redesigned Focus for Europe at its Saarlouis assembly plant in south west Germany on Monday. Production of four-door sedan and five-door hatchback versions for North America has already begun in Michigan; the German plant will also make a five-door wagon version.

Five hundred new permanent jobs were created by Focus production in Saarlouis. Production begins in Russia in mid-2011 and in 2012 in China and Thailand.

Over 10m Focus vehicles have been sold since its initial introduction in 1998, six million of which were sold in Europe, and 3.7m of those made in Saarlouis. Production locations have included Germany, Spain, the US, Mexico and South Africa.

Saarlouis will now be the single-source plant for the new model for western Europe and will add a high performance ST model in early 2012.

"This is an important day for Ford, the Saarland and for Germany," said Ken Macfarlane, vice-president of manufacturing, Ford of Europe. "Saarlouis is proud to have been the lead plant for Focus production in Europe since the first model was launched in 1998. Throughout that time, its skilled and dedicated workforce has worked hard to ensure that the plant is recognised throughout the industry for its manufacturing efficiency and quality."

With over 6,500 employees and over EUR3bn invested in the facility’s ongoing development and continuous modernisation, Saarlouis is capable of manufacturing up to 1,850 vehicles a day in three shifts. It currently also produces the Kuga SUV.

Of EUR300m spent to produce the new Focus, EUR100m was for new robotised body construction facilities, EUR75m for new tooling and EUR18m for new high quality, low emissions paint shop technology.