Ford Motor is planning to hike production at its Valencia site in Spain by 40 percent to around 400,000 units this year. The Valencia plant is now in charge of building the Mondeo midsize car and the Galaxy and S-Max large minivans, after their former home, Ford’s Genk site in Belgium was closed in December as part of the carmaker’s plan to trim excessive capacity and return its European operations to profit.
Ford recently said in a statement that it has completed the final part of a EUR2.3-billion ($2.6 billion) expansion of its operations in Spain. This investment includes an initial EUR1.1 billion announced in 2011 and another EUR1.2 billion since 2013.
The US carmaker is boosting its output in Spain, which is currently making reforms – like easing the conditions for firing and hiring -- to restore economic stability. Ford chief executive Mark Fields and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy have visited the Valencia site to mark the investment.
Fields remarked that the Valencia site is one of the most modern and flexible auto plants around the world. Rajoy, meanwhile, said the auto industry had played a key role in the recovery of the Spanish economy.
With that, the European Commission is expecting more of the country’s economic growth this year. Ford’s investment in Spain comes as the carmaker continues to trim its losses in Europe, even cutting the deficit in the fourth quarter of 2014 to just $443 million.
Sales also grew faster than the industry overall, jumping 7.3 percent. Fields told Bloomberg that Ford’s European business and its market share grew in 2014 Europe and they expect the auto industry to “grow a bit more this year."
Ford will commence production of the latest Galaxy and S-Max models later in 2015 and by the end of the year, the Valencia site will be building six models.