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Ford starts Puma build in Romania

By Graeme Roberts | 9 October 2019

Puma is Craiovas second current model line. Plant previously built the B-Max

Puma is Craiova's second current model line. Plant previously built the B-Max

Ford Motor Company has started production of the Puma crossover model at its assembly plant in Craiova.

In order to support production of the new Puma, Ford started a large scale process of hiring about 1,700 people last year and has spent about EUR200m (US$220m) at the plant, Ford Romania said in a press release.

The automaker's total investment in Craiova is now about EUR1.5bn since taking over the former Daewoo plant in 2008.

"It is a great achievement for us to produce here, in Craiova, not only the most technologically advanced vehicle ever manufactured in Romania, but also the first with integrated hybrid technology," Ford Romania president Ian Pearson said.

The Puma is a SUV-inspired compact crossover with a 48 volt mild hybrid powertrain.

The Puma - reviving a name last used on a Fiesta based coupe - was unveiled last June and joins an extensive range of European SUVs and crossovers, including Fiesta and Focus Active, EcoSport, Kuga, Edge and Explorer PHEV.

The new vehicle is in addition to the EcoSport small SUV currently built in Craiova along with Ford's one litre EcoBoost engine. The company started EcoSport SUV production at Craiova following a EUR200m spend in October 2017 after earlier importing the model into Europe from India. The plant earlier had produced the B-Max.

Anticipated production volumes for the EcoSport and Puma models will result in the assembly plant working three shifts, Ford said.

The automaker entered Romania in March 2008 when it acquired a 72.4% stake in Automobile Craiova, the sole owner of car maker and distributor Daewoo Automobile Romania.

Ford currently has about 6,000 employees in Romania.