Valencia, Spain – Ford Motor Co. is completing the final part of a $2.6 billion investment in its Valencia, Spain, manufacturing operations, transforming it into one of the world’s most advanced, flexible and productive auto plants.
The investment by Ford is the largest in the history of Spanish auto industry and will allow the Valencia plant to increase vehicle production by 40% this year to about 400,000 vehicles, and will have the capacity to potentially build up to 450,000 vehicles a year.
Ford now employs about 8,000 people at the facility, up from just below 5,000 in early 2013. Supplier operations supporting Valencia production also have added 1,500 jobs since 2013.
“This world-class facility will help Ford’s accelerate its growth in Europe and around the world,” says Mark Fields, Ford president and CEO. “Valencia is not only a major hub of production – building vehicles and engines exported to 75 countries worldwide – but also a centre of innovation employing some of the industry’s most advanced lean, flexible and environmentally friendly manufacturing processes.”
In 2015, Valencia will build six Ford nameplates. The plant currently builds the Mondeo (sold as the Fusion in the United States) wagon, hatchback, and sedan (including the Mondeo Hybrid), Kuga SUV (sold as the Escape in the U.S.), Transit Connect light commercial vehicle, and Tourneo Connect minivan. The new S-MAX multi-activity vehicle, Galaxy minivan and the Vignale Mondeo go into production later this year.
The investment consists of an initial $1.25 billion announced in 2011, followed by a further $1.37 billion since 2013. Valencia will be the sole European production source for all six Ford nameplates assembled at the plant.
The Ford Valencia facility has produced more than 11 million vehicles and 15 million engines since production started in 1976.
A new 89,000m2 bodyshop, constructed over nearly eight months, raises the plant’s vehicle production capability to about 2,000 units per day. For production of Mondeo and Mondeo Hybrid, the plant was retooled to deliver an industry-first application of hydro-formed high strength steel.
Ford has built an additional paint shop, installing automated paint processes that remove the need for paint-drying between application stages, and dirt detection technology. This improves quality while delivering energy and productivity savings.
New assembly line processes make Valencia among Ford’s most efficient facilities, essential to managing the increased complexity of producing more models and derivatives than any Ford facility in Europe.
Since 2011 more than 900 new robots have been installed in the Valencia bodyshops and 34 in the final assembly areas. Nearly 600 engineers are involved in supporting the high-tech production processes in Valencia.
“Mondeo, S-MAX and Galaxy will grow the number of parts we manage from 7,000 to 18,000, requiring some fresh and innovative solutions,” says Tony Ades, operations manager, Valencia.
Source: Ford Motor Co.