Ford in Europe 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.
Ford also is moving forward with a $2 billion conversion of its Cologne, Germany, operations to begin producing electric passenger vehicles starting in 2023.
The automaker’s European strategy calls for a line-up of electric vehicles, including an electric version of the Ford Puma, electric Ford Pro vehicles, and connected services. By 2026, Ford in Europe plans to sell 600,000 electric vehicles annually.
“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,” says Jim Farley, president and CEO of Ford. “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.”
Continent-wide electric vehicle sales continue to grow rapidly (up 65 percent to 2.3 million in 2021) and the European Parliament voted earlier this month to set new CO2 targets for light-duty vehicles, including a requirement that new sales be 100 percent zero emission vehicles by 2035.
Still, major challenges remain. Electric vehicles are expensive, a battery can take as long as a week to charge using 110-volt service, and working public chargers are limited in numbers. There’s also range anxiety, sourcing of key battery materials from child labor, and electric grid limitations.
“We are accelerating our transformation in Europe, reimagining how we do business and building a future where amazing vehicles and relentless focus on customer experience goes hand-in-hand with protecting our planet,” says Stuart Rowley, chair, Ford of Europe and chief transformation and quality officer at Ford.
The decision in Europe followed the conclusion of comprehensive 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 site concepts.
Ford also reiterated its commitment to Germany as the headquarters of its European Model e business and the site of its first domestic European electric vehicle production. The state-of-the art Cologne Electrification Centre will start production in late 2023.
“Ford is investing heavily in electric vehicle manufacturing operations in Germany, and we are committed to the country as our headquarters location in Europe,” says Rowley. “We look forward to progressing this work with our partners in Germany and across the whole region. To secure new product in Europe we need winning product designs, outstanding technology and engineering, optimized sourcing, and an evolution of our industrial operations to ensure they are fully oriented to an electrified world.”
Ford’s plans for all-electric future in Europe supports the global goal of 2 million+ annual production of EVs by 2026 and 10 percent company adjusted EBIT margin by 2026.
Ford of Europe is responsible for producing, selling, and servicing Ford brand vehicles in 50 individual markets and employs approximately 41,000 employees at its wholly owned facilities and consolidated joint ventures, and approximately 55,000 people when unconsolidated businesses are included.
In addition to Ford Motor Credit Co., Ford Europe operations include Ford Customer Service Division and 14 manufacturing facilities (10 wholly owned facilities and four unconsolidated joint venture facilities). The first Ford cars were shipped to Europe in 1903 — the same year Ford Motor Co. was founded. European production started in 1911.
Ford employs about 182,000 people worldwide.