Ford has this morning announced the development of a new diesel production facility at Dagenham as part of a $500m investment in diesel technology at the plant by 2004.
The move will create 500 new jobs and boost engine production from today's level of about 650,000 units per annum to up to 900,000 by 2004. Together with the increased output of petrol engines at Ford's Bridgend engine plant, plans for which were announced in February, the UK will be producing around two million Ford engines a year by 2004. One in four Ford's sold will be powered by a UK built engine.
Justifying the investment, Kevin O'Neill, director of the Ford diesel business unit, said this morning: “In the UK we anticipate diesel sales will more than double, from 14% of today's market to around 30% by 2005. In Europe diesel sales are already 35% of the market and are set to grow further.”
Building work on the diesel centre is expected to start next month and engine assembly begin in August 2003.
Ford will produce the DuraTorq diesel LCV engines and a new 2.7-litre V6 unit at Dagenham as part of a programme with PSA Peugeot Citroen to develop four second - generation common rail diesel engine families.
The DuraTorq TDCi 1.4 engine is the first result of the co-operation.