The Ford Plant in Craiova on Thursday launched the production of the new EcoSport SUV for Europe, in order to cover for the growth in demand from clients on this segment, according to the company.
The Ford Europe representatives stated that the investment in the production of the new model in Craiova was worth approximately 200 million euros, with 1,700 new people to be hired, so that by the end of the year the Craiova-based facility will have 3,900 employees.
“EcoSport is a new example of the manner in which Ford is developing its operations based on the advantages of its own product series – implicitly based on some world class SUVs. Once with the increase in demand for EcoSport and in general for the SUVs in this category, this is a favourable time to relocate production in Europe and raise up to our customers’ level, the Vice-President of the Group and President of Ford Motor Company Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Seven Armstrong, said.
The facility in Craiova will be the single Ford unit that will produce the new model EcoSport for Europe (except from Russia). Overall, the facility will deliver the Ford SUV to 56 markets on four continents. These include very diverse markets such as Great Britain, New Caledonia (Oceania), Turkmenistan (Central Asia) or South Africa. Besides the new EcoSport, Ford Craiova will continue the production of the Ford 1.0 EcoBoost motor, the only winner of the title “The International Engine of the Year” for four consecutive years.
The new Ford EcoSport offers a high level of versatility and enhanced capabilities, a more sophisticated interior and exterior design and sophisticated technology dedicated to its customers, such as the Intelligent All Wheel Drive, which improves traction and grip on and off the road. The advanced 1.5-liter EcoBlue diesel engine develops up to 125 hp and offers an optimized emission level. The redesigned cabin offers easier-to-use and soft-touch controls, a new center console and more comfortable seats. EcoSport is also available in premier version in a sporty ST-Line, inspired by the Ford Performance range.
Both President Klaus Iohannis and Prime Minister Mihai Tudose attended the launch event for the EcoSport, alongside other representatives of the central and local public administration and almost 4,000 Ford employees. The event was also attended by the U.S. Ambassador to Romania, Hans Klemm.
They all had the chance to see the first EcoSport car coming out the Craiova Plant assembly line.
President Klaus Iohannis said that once with the launch of the new Ford model, the Romanian automotive industry is becoming more stronger as a presence on the European car market.
Prime Minister Mihai Tudose said the launch of the new Ford EcoSport represents “a new historic stage” for Ford.
US Ambassador Klemm: Investment in Craiova proves Ford’s trust in Romania and labour force here
The US Ambassador in Bucharest Hans Klemm stated in Craiova that the 200 million euros worth investment made by the Ford Group for the production of EcoSport in Craiova proves how much this company trusts Romania and the labour force in our country.
“The investment created around 1,700 new jobs in Craiova and the Romanian Government has shown its commitment towards the work that is done here, the ambassador stated. This is proving the government’s openness towards US investments and the need to create a stable policies framework and public infrastructure”, the US Ambassador added.
He also underscored that Ford is known to be one of the most ethical companies in the world due to its care for the employees, and also that it was thanks to this company, where his father worked for 40 years, that his family could live his dream American.
The US Ambassador pointed out that Ford Motor is recognized as one of the most ethical companies in the world and, according to the Ethisphere Institute, an important institute of research, too. In other words, Ford Motor Company is one of the 100 ethical companies in the world and the only automotive manufacturer included on this elite list.
According to Klemm, through Ford Motor Company, the company’s philanthropic organization has invested 1.5 billion US dollars in developing communities around the world. The company promotes Ford’s vision of improving people’s lives by fostering social mobility since 1949. In Romania, it has invested more than half a million euros in various social and health projects, the US Ambassador said.
President Iohannis: Partnership – key to economic success, irrespective of what politicians sometimes claim
President Klaus Iohannis stated, on Thursday, that partnership is the key to economic success, irrespective of what politicians sometimes claim.
“Due to foreign investment, Craiova has become again an important industrial centre in Romania. This proves once again that foreign investment and Romanian capital must be equally supported and encouraged. I would be glad if people understood, at the eleventh hour at least, that adverse economic policies do no good to anybody. In fact, foreign investment consolidates the Romanian capital, as we have seen it happening here. We have at Craiova a very good example of industrial ecosystem made up of tens of Romanian firms developed around the Ford Motor Company. Big investment has always paired up with the development of medium and small sized companies. In economy, partnership means cooperation and competition through entrepreneurship, innovation and productivity. This is the path of economic success and there are no shortcuts on the way to prosperity, no matter how much politicians claim sometimes that they are the only ones capable to invent,” Iohannis stated at the launch of the Ford EcoSport model.
The head of state maintained that the launch of the new Ford model is also important in the light of the strategic partnership between Romania and the USA.
He said that through the launch of this new Ford model the Romanian automotive industry creates an ever-stronger reputation on the European automotive market, especially since recent evolutions have been very promising. Thus, the head of state showed that Romania currently ranks 11th in Europe, based on the annual automotive production.
“Through your work and that of everyone who works in this field, the automotive industry in Romania has come to represent last year around 13 pct of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and a quarter of Romania’s total exports, a very important sector for Romania’s economy. This performance must continue to be consolidated through such ambitious projects, through professionalism and competitiveness,” Iohannis said.
He emphasised that Romania has remarkable economic potential.
Iohannis specified that the expansion of the Ford plant creates 1,700 more jobs. He expressed hope that the Ford EcoSport model will become a “new success story” of the Ford Motor Company and the Romanian automotive industry.
“Transport infrastructure must be first priority of any Government”
The transport infrastructure must be the first priority of any Government, President Klaus Iohannis also said on Thursday, in the speech delivered during his visit to the Ford plant in Craiova.
“In drawing investment, the local administration has a key-role which I encourage to become a rule and not an exception. We all know that one of the essential requirements is ensuring a high-quality infrastructure. To benefit from bigger, more performing investment, to reduce the wide regional gaps existing in Romania, the transport infrastructure must be the first priority of any Government,” Iohannis said.
He showed that, before participating in the launch of the new Ford EcoSport model, he discussed this matter with the Government representatives participating in the event, among whom Prime Minister Mihai Tudose.
“In our discussions we approached these topics and I received all necessary promises,” Iohannis showed.
The head of the state underscored that Romania’s imperatives in terms of infrastructure are necessary “not only for the auto industry to become more attractive and more competitive, but also for Romanians to be able to travel efficiently and safely, so that Romania’s development be laid on solid and healthy foundations.
After the speech delivered on the occasion, the head of state took a drive test with an orange EcoSport car.
Iohannis tests new Ford EcoSport SUV
President Klaus Iohannis tested on Thursday the new Ford EcoSport SUV, with national rally champion Simone Tempestini by his side, as co-pilot.
“The test was very good. We took a racetrack lap with the new Ford EcoSport car and for this class I find it has excellent features, its performance is really good. I think it will sell well,” Iohannis said after test drive.
Asked whether he wishes to purchase the new Ford model, he replied that he would analyse this matter with his wife.
“For me, it is a discussion. You see that I usually sit in the back of the car and this is why I sometimes like to take the driver’s seat. (…) I will consider the matter,” Iohannis said.
PM Tudose says Romania moving forward from promises to action in respect to infrastructure
Prime Minister Mihai Tudose said that in respect to the infrastructure “that connects Craiova to the rest of the world,” Romania is no longer just at the level of promises.
“Today we can say that, in respect to the infrastructure that connects Craiova to the rest of the world, we are no longer on a level of promises, we are on schedule (…). There are infrastructure works under bidding, awarding procedure. Things have begun moving forward in this area, too. This has been one of Romania’s commitments. Romania understands to respect its commitments,” Tudose said after the visit to the Ford plant in Craiova.
According to the PM, the launch of the new Ford EcoSport model represents “a new history” in Ford company.
“I am thrilled, as a car passionate, for what Craiova represents for Romania, for what Ford has done for Craiova and Romania. (…) The presence in Romania of such a big company isn’t something to be overlooked. It is an element of pride for us and, I suppose, for them, too, because they found here a favourable economic, social, human environment to take this important step – a new model, new history in the Ford company,” Tudose also said.