Ford Picks Spain for Production of New Electrical Automobile

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Stuart Rowley,

head of Ford of Europe, mentioned the shift to electric cars would end in a major discount of the corporate’s workforce each on the Spanish plant in Valencia and on the German plant that was within the operating to construct the subsequent EV mannequin.

The choice marks a milestone in Ford’s efforts to reorient its business in the region as European electric-vehicle gross sales proceed to develop quickly. The shift is being accelerated by high prices at the pump and stricter regulation of tailpipe emissions.

The European Parliament earlier this month voted in favor of banning manufacturing of latest automobiles with inside combustion engines in 2035. If authorized by EU member states, the transfer would drive your complete trade to shift to EVs.

Ford and GM lately launched their first electrical pickup vehicles. WSJ auto reporter Mike Colias breaks down the completely different methods the 2 legacy auto producers are pursuing to deliver their EVs to market. Photo Illustration: Alexander Hotz/WSJ

Ford, which has struggled with profitability in Europe, has been utilizing the shift to electrical automobiles as leverage to restructure its European enterprise, which has included transferring manufacturing to extra lower-cost websites comparable to Turkey and Eastern Europe.

“Bringing our all-new electric vehicle architecture to [Spain] will help us build a profitable business in Europe,” Mr. Rowley instructed reporters on a phone convention on Wednesday.

Ford will start producing electrical automobiles for Europe subsequent yr in Cologne, Germany, utilizing expertise it licenses from

Volkswagen AG

. In its current plant in Valencia, Ford will produce a line of electrical automobiles starting later this decade utilizing its personal expertise.

Ford mentioned it at present employs 41,000 folks throughout 14 manufacturing crops in Europe, together with 6,000 folks in Valencia, and round 20,000 in Germany at its crops in Cologne, Saarlouis and Aachen.

Ford builds its Focus compact automobile, a mannequin it now not sells within the U.S., within the Saarlouis plant. Mr. Rowley mentioned the plant will proceed to construct the Focus till 2025 however that its future was unclear past that.

Ford’s plant in Saarlouis, Germany, builds the auto maker’s Focus compact automobile, which is now not bought within the U.S.


Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg News

Ford held an inside magnificence contest between Saarlouis and Valencia because it sought the most effective location to construct its subsequent era EVs for at the very least six months, participating in intense negotiations with stakeholders, workers and authorities officers at each websites, in the end selecting Spain over Germany.

Mr. Rowley declined to remark intimately on the explanations behind the choice, however analysts level out that Germany’s greater wages and vitality prices weaken its competitiveness.

The Spanish authorities, against this, has been campaigning to draw auto trade funding, touting its low wages, abundance of renewable vitality and wooing auto makers with subsidies.

In May, Volkswagen AG introduced a multiyear plan to take a position round €10 billion in Spain, equal to $10.54 billion, with companions to construct a battery plant anticipated to start manufacturing in 2026. It may also convert its manufacturing crops in Martorell and Pamplona to provide electrical automobiles.

Mr. Rowley mentioned Ford was nonetheless dedicated to Germany as the positioning of its European headquarters. In May, the corporate introduced a $2 billion conversion of its Cologne plant to provide electrical automobiles. Production is ready to start subsequent yr, Ford mentioned.

The U.S. auto maker can also be planning to provide a completely electrical model of its Puma mannequin in 2024 at its plant in Craiova, Romania, the place it additionally makes electrical variations of its Transit Courier and Tourneo Courier multipurpose vans.

Together with South Korea’s

SK Innovation Co.

and Turkish industrial conglomerate

Koc Holding AS

, Ford is constructing a battery manufacturing facility close to Ankara, the Turkish capital.

Mr. Rowley wouldn’t say the place Ford would get batteries for EV manufacturing in Valencia, solely saying they’d be sourced in Europe. Turkey isn’t a member of the EU, however enjoys intensive commerce with the bloc.

Write to William Boston at [email protected]

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