Ford £1.5 billion investment signed off
Newly signed contracts will support Ford’s planned £1.5 billion investment in its four UK engineering and manufacturing facilities over the next five years.
The UK government’s £360 million backing of a £450m loan to Ford from the European Investment Bank (EIB), and the loan itself, were signed off at Ford’s Dunton Technical Centre in Essex. This follows an announcement in March that the UK government intended to provide the £360 million loan guarantee.Business Minister, Mark Prisk; European Investment Bank vice president, Simon Brooks; and Ford of Britain chairman, Joe Greenwell, signed contracts for the guarantee and the consequent loan, which is repayable on commercial terms and will target projects that improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions.Ford’s research and development centre in Dunton is the country’s largest automotive engineering facility and is one of four UK Ford sites covering research, development and manufacture of low-CO2 technology for cars and commercial vehicles.Engines assembled at Ford Dagenham emit as little as 98g CO2/km and feature in Ford’s economical Fiesta and Focus ECOnetic models. Fuel-saving ECOnetic technology has also been extended to Ford’s commercial vehicles, including the Southampton-produced Ford Transit ECOnetic.Ford Bridgend in Wales is gearing up for production of the new 1.6-litre Ford EcoBoost petrol engine, which will offer CO2 and fuel savings of up to 20 per cent compared with conventional petrol-engine technology. It will debut in the new Ford C-MAX range this autumn.Ford of Britain chairman, Joe Greenwell, said: “This European Investment Bank loan, and the loan guarantee from the UK government, will help to unlock up to £1.5 billion in low-carbon and environmentally friendly engine and vehicle technology investment over the next five years. “This is a testament to the skills and capabilities of our UK workforce and demonstrates the scale of our commitment to Britain. “Our customers will benefit from this extensive investment and so too will the 100,000 people in the UK whose jobs are directly or indirectly dependent on Ford.”Mark Prisk, added: “Ford has an impressive track record in research and development. Its investment of £1.5 billion over the next five years is a great opportunity to take the lead in developing low carbon manufacturing. “This backing from the Government will help to ensure the long term success of manufacturing in the UK and make sure we are at the forefront of new technologies.”And according to European Investment Bank vice-president, Simon Brooks: “A new generation of low-emission engines and more fuel-efficient vehicles will develop new skills and innovation across the UK.“These vehicles will undoubtedly make a significant contribution to combating climate change.”