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Ford invests in low CO2 engines

Ford has announced a new investment programme at its high-tech Bridgend engine plant in Wales to produce next generation low CO2 1.6-litre, four-cylinder petrol engines.

This latest investment totals £70 million for the plant, where this year employment rose to over 2,000 for the first time in its 28-year history.

Investment at Bridgend has amounted to £315 million in the last five years alone.  This additional investment increases the plant’s production capability to almost 1,000,000 units per annum. Today’s announcement includes Welsh Assembly Government support of £13.4 million.

The new 1.6-litre engines will go into production within two years and demonstrate how Ford is meeting future global customer needs by delivering affordable and relevant new technology. They will be among the first of a new generation of global petrol powertrains, known as EcoBoost, featuring turbocharging and direct injection technology.

Ford EcoBoost petrol engines will deliver improved fuel economy and emissions without compromising driving performance and providing an alternative route to hybrid or diesel efficiency.

Compared with current larger displacement petrol engines of similar power, these new engines are expected to provide up to 20 per cent better fuel economy, 15 per cent lower CO2 emissions and superior driving performance.

EcoBoost engines will join the existing Ford ECOnetic range of frugal, ultra-low CO2 diesel engined vehicles launched this year – the Focus ECOnetic (115g CO2/km), the Mondeo (139g) and all-new Fiesta (98g) capable of over 76mpg (European Drive Cycle).  A new Ford Ka ECOnetic has also been confirmed.

The last new engine added at Bridgend plant was a premium 3.2-litre power unit in 2006. Used by Volvo in its vehicles, the compact in-line six-cylinder engine (SI6) is assembled on a Bridgend line that also produces V8 units and features flexible technology – enabling operators to switch between different products.  The SI6/V8 flex line installed in 2004 represented a £245 million investment.

This illustrates the breadth of production at Ford Bridgend:  four-, six- and eight-cylinder petrol engines with capacities ranging from 1.25 to 4.4 litres, which will be supplemented by this important new low CO2 engine.

John Fleming, Ford of Europe chairman and CEO, said: “We’re pleased to be able to invest further in the Ford Bridgend facility. The Bridgend team will play an important role in delivering these new engines, which add an innovative ingredient to petrol engine technology and deliver a combination of low emissions and efficient performance that will be vital to meet future customer needs around the world.”