Ford has started production of an all-new 1.5-litre Ecoboost petrol engine at its Bridgend Engine Plant in South Wales.
The three-cylinder unit debuts in the new Fiesta ST and all-new Focus.
It is built on an all-new flexible manufacturing facility, following an investment of £100 million, including support from the Welsh Government.
The announcement comes just days after the plant halted one of its production lines for a week, sparking new fears over the future viability of the site.
Workers were told last week that production of the Jaguar AJ V8, which features in vehicles such as the Range Rover Sport and Jaguar F-Type, will stop for one week commencing on October 29, due to low demand.
Jaguar has stopped production at its Solihull plant for two weeks.
“I’m personally very proud to see production start of this all-new engine, here in Bridgend, said Wallace Yearwood, plant manager. “It’s the result of a significant investment in the plant, a plant which has a long-established history of delivering world-class engines, and we will make this engine another success.”
Economy and Transport Secretary Ken Skates addedd: “I’m delighted to see our Welsh Government investment supporting hundreds of high skilled jobs in south Wales. We are proud to have played a part in developing this world class manufacturing facility and look forward to continuing to work with the company and workforce to ensure a bright future for the plant at Bridgend, despite the upcoming challenges of Brexit.”
Quality confirmation of the new engine is assured through multi-stage testing and process monitoring at all points during assembly process. Machining lines for the cylinder head and cylinder block feature the latest CNC technology and environmentally efficient cutting systems.
The all-new engine family was designed and developed by engineers at the Ford Dunton Technical Centre in Essex, as well as Ford’s Technical Centre in Merkenich Germany, and the Ford Research and Innovation Centre in Aachen, Germany.