BRENTWOOD, England – Ford is announcing a £24 million investment programme at its high-tech Bridgend engine plant in Wales to produce a new fuel-efficient 1.5-litre EcoBoost petrol engine. EcoBoost technology delivers the power of a larger engine with smaller unit fuel consumption.
Ford Bridgend is one of the Ford UK locations benefitting from Ford's planned £1.5 billion investment announced in 2010 into the research, development and manufacture of low-CO2 technology for vehicles over a five year period. Today's announcement includes Welsh Government support of £12 million.
Ford Bridgend produces 2,668 four-cylinder engines each day, with exports to Spain, Sweden, Germany, Russia, Belgium and the USA. This delivers an annual export value of £1.5 billion when combined with other Ford UK operations. Employment at Bridgend will rise from 2,150 to 2,300 this year, the most in its 33-year history.
Welsh Government Minister for Economy, Edwina Hart, said: “The Welsh Government has worked closely with Ford to secure this investment and is delighted to confirm a support package of £12 million towards this exciting programme. This will help safeguard and create high quality production and engineering jobs in Wales.”
Ford of Britain managing director, Mark Ovenden, said: “The Welsh Government has greatly assisted in maximising the full potential of Ford’s own investment in Bridgend and we are pleased to meet today with the Welsh First Minister and the Minister for Economy to recognise this successful partnership.”
The Bridgend plant is the long term European production base for the new 1.5-litre EcoBoost engine. Production will start in 2014 and then ramp up over the following two years to ensure that Bridgend output is maintained at optimum capacity during this period. It will be built alongside the 1.6-litre EcoBoost engine, which was introduced in 2011.
Fifth Ford EcoBoost engine launched
The new aluminium-block, twin-cam 1.5-litre EcoBoost engine will feature some of the innovative technology introduced on the award-winning 1.0-litre EcoBoost, including an integrated exhaust manifold. The new engine is expected to provide similar horsepower and torque performance to Ford’s current 1.6-litre EcoBoost, while delivering improved fuel economy and lower CO2 emissions.
The 1.5-litre EcoBoost engine is the first engine from Ford to incorporate a computer-controlled clutch on the belt-driven water pump, which further improves efficiencies by reducing warm-up time. A new water-cooled charge air cooler provides a more efficient air-feed into the engine.
Ford has sold more than 600,000 EcoBoost-equipped vehicles globally since the range was launched with the 3.5-litre V6 EcoBoost in 2009. Ford added the 2.0-litre EcoBoost in 2010; the 1.6-litre EcoBoost followed in 2011; and last year the 1.0-litre EcoBoost was launched, winning the 2012 “International Engine of the Year” award.
The Bridgend plant has benefitted from a total £1.8 billion investment since it opened in 1980. It builds six-cylinder and eight-cylinder engines for customers and, together with Ford four-cylinder engines, total production is currently 3,400 engines a day or one every 24 seconds off the busiest line.
Bridgend’s success has been encouraged through a partnership with the Welsh Government who have commited to maximising the potential of Ford’s own investment. The Welsh Government supports the plant with an annual grant for training of £50,000.
Ford Bridgend total production now exceeds 17 million engines and its products power the Ford Fiesta, B-MAX, Focus, C-MAX, Kuga and Mondeo models.