Ford is working hard to get back on track in the small SUV segment. It has a lot to demonstrate with its Ecosport model in order to compete with cars like the Nissan Juke, peugeot 2008 or Opel Mokka. But now, the first step was made: it started production today of the new Ford EcoSport small SUV at its Craiova, Romania, assembly plant.
The decision to build the new EcoSport in Europe rather than continue to import the vehicle from Ford’s plant in Chennai, India, will help Ford respond to rising customer demand.
Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, Prime Minister Mihai Tudose and other senior national and local officials joined nearly 4,000 Ford workers as the first of the new EcoSports rolled off the lines.
Total industry sales of SUVs in Ford’s 20 European traditional markets grew by 27 percent last year and accounted for more than one in four new passenger car registrations. Ford’s SUV sales in Europe grew more than 30 percent in 2016 and have risen by 27 percent in the first eight months of 2017.
SUV growth means more jobs, too. By year-end, Ford is creating another 1,700 jobs at Ford Craiova, bringing the total workforce for both vehicle and engine production to 3,900. Ford’s total investment in its Romanian facility now exceeds €1 billion since it took over the plant in March 2008.
Craiova is the sole source of EcoSport production for Europe (excluding Russia), supplying 56 markets on four continents. This includes markets as diverse as the United Kingdom, New Caledonia in Oceania, Turkmenistan in Central Asia, and South Africa.
The Ford Craiova team also will continue to produce Ford’s 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine – the only engine to win the International Engine of the Year award four years in a row.