Ford to become EV brand in Europe, invest $1B in main German plant

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Ford on Wednesday announced major changes to its operations in Europe. Key among these will be a switch to an full-electric passenger vehicle lineup by 2030.

Ford’s sole electric vehicle currently on sale in Europe is the Mustang Mach-E, but the automaker estimates that by as early as 2026 its full lineup will consist purely of plug-in hybrids, battery-electric vehicles, and other types of zero-emission capable vehicles.

Part of the plan is to introduce EVs tailored to the European market. The first of these is due in 2023 and will be built at Ford’s plant in Cologne, Germany. The site is where Ford’s European headquarters is located, and it’s set to receive a $1 billion upgrade to prepare it for EV production. The plant currently builds the Fiesta subcompact.

Planned upgrades to Ford plant in Cologne, Germany

Planned upgrades to Ford plant in Cologne, Germany

The European-built EV is expected to be based on Volkswagen Group’s MEB platform. Recall, Ford in 2019 entered a deal with VW Group to use the MEB platform for a European-built EV due in 2023. The automaker also said at the time it was considering a second EV based on the platform. Currently found in the VW ID.3 and ID.4, the MEB platform will eventually underpin dozens of models across multiple brands.

The investment in the Cologne plant is part of Ford’s $22 billion global investment in EVs covering the period 2016-2025, which was announced by the automaker earlier in February. Part of the funds will also go toward developing an electric version of Ford’s Transit van, which is popular with commercial customers in Europe.

Ford’s announcement of its plans for Europe comes after the automaker announced a strong return to profit in the region. Ford earlier in Feb. said it generated an operating profit of $414 million in the fourth quarter of 2020 in Europe, up from $21 million in the fourth quarter of 2019. This was thanks in part to a major restructuring initiated in 2019 that included 12,000 job cuts across Europe but primarily in Germany.



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