Ford in Europe today announced that it has chosen its plant in Valencia, Spain as the preferred site to assemble vehicles based on a next-generation electric vehicle architecture. Pending product approval, the Valencia plant could produce electric and connected vehicles beginning later this decade.
In the problematic world of labor relations, Ford is also moving ahead on the $2 billion conversion of its Cologne, Germany, operations to begin producing electric passenger vehicles starting in 2023. Continent-wide electric vehicle sales continue to grow rapidly (up 65% to 2.3 million in 2021*).
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.
Ford’s European strategy calls for electric vehicles, including an electric version of the small Ford Puma in the waning small hatchback segment and extending its leadership in the commercial segment with electric Ford Pro vehicles and connected services. By 2026, Ford in Europe plans to sell 600,000 electric vehicles annually. It has plenty of competition on a continent known for its government compromises in trade and tax rules for local producers.
The decision announced today followed the end of consultations with teams in Valencia, Spain and Saarlouis, Germany. Ford’s plant in Saarlouis will continue to produce the Ford Focus passenger car, while the company is also evaluating options for future of the site.
“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. “The European auto industry is extremely competitive, and to thrive and grow we can never settle for less than unbelievably great products, a delightful customer experience, ultra-lean operations and a talented and motivated team.”
* International Energy Agency Global EV Outlook 2022, May 2022