Ford to shift EcoSport production to Romania in 2017

Michael Martinez
The Detroit News

Ford Motor Co. on Tuesday will announce it will spend roughly $224 million (200 million euros) to move production of its EcoSport small SUV from India to its assembly plant in Craiova, Romania.

The Dearborn automaker will move the EcoSport from its Chennai Vehicle Assembly Plant to Romania in the fall of 2017. The India plant will continue to make EcoSports for the local market and for exports, Ford said, but a majority of the SUVs in Europe will now be built in Romania.

“EcoSport sales are up nearly 30 percent this year and given the continued outlook for sales growth in the small SUV segment, it’s the right time to move EcoSport production to Europe and take advantage of the excellent workforce and operations we have in Craiova,” Jim Farley, president and CEO, Ford of Europe, said in a statement.

Ford took over the Craiova facility in 2008 and currently builds the B-Max multipurpose vehicle. The plant also makes Ford’s 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine.

Ford has said it will launch five new SUV and crossover vehicles in Europe in the next three years, starting with the Edge in the second quarter of 2016. The automaker expects to sell more than 200,000 SUVs in Europe for the first time this year — which would represent a growth of more than 30 percent compared with last year.

Ford says the small SUV segment that EcoSport competes in will grow to about 1.5 million vehicles a year by 2017, which would be an increase of 35 percent compared to 2015.

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