Ford confirmed on May 22 that it will invest up to 200 million euros in its Craiova assembly plant in Romania. As many as 1500 new jobs will be created, as the manufacturer expands production at the plant to accommodate the assembly of a second vehicle. The announcement comes with a stern warning for the Romanian government, however, which has been told that it must no longer delay investment in the country’s creaking infrastructure.
The new vehicle – which has yet to be named – is in addition to the EcoSport small SUV currently built in Craiova, plus Ford’s 1.0‑litre EcoBoost engine. The model and start date for production of the second vehicle will be confirmed closer to launch.
“This new investment will add to our evolving line-up of exciting new models manufactured in Europe and continues the transformation of our Craiova facility,” said Steven Armstrong, president and CEO, Ford of Europe, Middle East and Africa. “The addition of this second vehicle is a testament to the operational flexibility of our Craiova plant and reflects the strong partnerships we have with local suppliers and the community.”
The investment announced on May 22 brings Ford’s overall investment in its Romanian manufacturing operations to nearly 1.5 billion euros since it acquired the Craiova facility in 2008. Significant upgrades have recently been made to Craiova’s vehicle operations, with more than 550 robots installed at the facility to further improve efficiency and quality in the paint, trim and chassis, and body shops.
To support the new vehicle, Ford Romania expects to hire approximately 1500 basic and skilled operators for a third shift to augment the current workforce of more than 4400. This will bring the total workforce to approximately 5900 employees.
The expected increase in vehicle production at Craiova places even greater importance on the ongoing discussions between Ford and the Romanian government. Investing in Craiova’s future is a sign of Ford’s trust in the Romanian government’s promises to deliver key upgrades infrastructure and logistics improvements, which are needed to maintain the global competitiveness of the Ford Craiova manufacturing operations. Any delay would significantly constrain Ford’s and its suppliers’ efforts to move increased volumes of vehicles and components.