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Welsh Government funds help Ford invest in Bridgend engine plant

Ford has announced a £24 million investment, half of which is Welsh Government funds, in its Bridgend engine assembly plant.

The investment is to allow the site, which already builds a 1.6-litre Ecoboost unit, to take on the carmaker's new 1.5-litre Ecoboost engine.

EcoBoost technology includes turbocharging and 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 globally announced in 2010 into the research, development and manufacture of low-CO2 technology for vehicles over a five year period.

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 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."

It equates to some £5,200 subsidy per employee at the plant.

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 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.

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. 

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