13/7/10 – European Investment Bank provides £450M to Ford for environmentally friendly engines and vehicle technologies
12 July 2010
In what is a boost to one major player in the automotive industry, the European Investment Bank is providing funding for research and development of a new era of low-carbon engines and commercial vehicle technologies at Ford manufacturing plants across the United Kingdom. The package, backed by a 80% loan guarantee from the UK government, forms part of Ford’s GBP 1.5 billion engine and vehicle development programme to be implemented over the next five years.
European Investment Bank Vice President responsible for the United Kingdom Simon Brooks, Business Minister Mark Prisk and Ford of Britain Chairman Joe Greenwell toured Ford’s Dunton research and development centre, the country’s largest automotive engineering facility, where engineers put vehicles and engines through rigorous testing, from extreme altitudes to crash simulators. The investment partly funded by the European Investment Bank will safeguard around 2,800 skilled jobs.
In 2009 the European Investment Bank supported 33 projects in the automotive sector with a total volume of EUR 8.2bn. Out of these, 17 projects financed in 2009 complied with objectives defined by the European Clean Transport Facility.
The latest investment will support Ford’s cutting-edge engine research and development in Dunton and Dagenham, and the upgrading of its manufacturing operations in Bridgend, Southampton and Dagenham, in particular through the European Clean Transport Facility. A new generation of low-emission engines and more fuel-efficient vehicles will develop new skills and innovation across the United Kingdom, and these new vehicles will make a significant contribution to combating climate change.
“Ford has an impressive track record in research and development. Its investment of GBP 1.5 billion over the next five years is a great opportunity to take the lead in developing low carbon manufacturing. This backing from the Government will help to ensure the long term success of manufacturing in the UK and make sure we are at the forefront of new technologies.” said Business Minister Mark Prisk. Research and development of petrol engines will include additional investment in Ford’s Bridgend plant, located in a European Convergence Region.
The UK projects to be supported cover research and development for Ford’s commercial vehicles such as the Transit and Connect vans and the development of low carbon emission diesel and petrol engines. This includes investment in production facilities for new lower carbon engines in Bridgend. Currently 25 per cent of all Ford engines worldwide and over 50 per cent of all Ford diesel engines are made in the UK.
Around 100,000 people are employed either directly or indirectly by Ford in product development, manufacturing, sales and marketing and service roles. The company produces around a million diesel engines a year from a 1.4 up to a high performance V8 unit. Ford currently provides 29 per cent of the UK’s automotive sector research and development.