Ford jobs safe at Bridgend and Dagenham

* British-built engines for the US * EcoBoost 1.6 in Mondeo first * Ford's UK workers reassured...

Ford jobs safe at Bridgend and Dagenham

British jobs are safe, as Ford reveals plans to export UK-built engines to North America.

Workers at Ford's engine factories in Bridgend, North Wales, and Dagenham, Essex, have been reassured that their jobs are secure.

New family of green engines
Ford's Bridgend factory will build a new 'family' of petrol engines, starting with the turbocharged 1.6-litre EcoBoost unit.

The green Ecoboost engine will initially be used in the Mondeo range cutting CO2 by 15% and improving fuel economy by 20% when compared with a larger engine of similar power.

With C02 down by 15% and an improvement of 20% in fuel economy, when compared with a larger engine giving a similar power output, the new 1.6 EcoBoost will initially be used in the Mondeo range.

The Bridgend-built EcoBoost engines will also be exported to North America, where Ford plans to offer an increased range of four-cylinder engines.

The Fiesta supermini will be launched in America next year, followed by the Focus small family car, and although the US-market cars may have larger, more powerful engines than European versions, economy will remain a priority.

One million engines a year
Bridgend employs around 2000 people, and this year it is expected to build 600,000 engines for use in Ford vehicles, as well as 125,000 six- and eight-cylinder engines for Volvo, Jaguar and Land Rover.

These engines include the 5.0-litre V8 for the all-new Jaguar XJ.

Once production of the EcoBoost engine begins next year, the Bridgend factory is expected to reach its full operating capacity of 1 million engines a year.

The Bridgend facility will be the sole supplier of the 1.6 EcoBoost engine worldwide; smaller versions will be made at Ford's factories in Craiova, Romania (a plant formerly owned by Daewoo) and Cologne, Germany, and a 2.0-litre version, which will also be exported globally, in Valencia.

British business is healthy
Ford insiders are confident that while the future of both Volvo and Jaguar Land Rover is uncertain, its own engine-making business and British manufacturing operations will remain healthy.

Jaguar Land Rover and Volvo engines account for a relatively small proportion of Ford's total output at both Bridgend and Dagenham. Of the 1,050,000 diesel engines produced at Dagenham last year, just 87,500 were supplied to Jaguar Land Rover.

Ford's gearbox factory in Halewood, Merseyside, a partnership with Getrag, is also said to be secure.

Scrappage schemes have also strongly benefited Ford's UK manufacturing operations, according to a Ford spokesman, since most of the new cars ordered in the UK and under similar schemes in mainland Europe are small vehicles using the British-built engines.