Before starting production of the next-generation Ford Focus, Ford of Europe will add nearly 500 full-time workers at its Saarlouis, Germany plant. They are presently on temporary contracts but the workers will be offered permanent Ford contracts beginning in the middle of November, Ford stated on Friday. It adds that production of the new Focus begins Dec. 6.
The Saarlouis plant will assemble all three Focus body styles (five door, four door and wagon). The plant, which celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2010, will be the only facility for the next-generation Ford Focus production in Western Europe.
New Focus four- and five-door versions for North America will be made at Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan.
In the middle of 2011, Ford will produce more of its four- and five-door models at its St. Petersburg, Russia plant. In early 2012, Ford will produce its Asia-Pacific region Focus models at its Chongqing, China plant.
Ford says 80 percent of the manufacturing processes and components used to build the European variant of the Focus will be shared with other Focus models assembled and sold globally.
The new Focus, developed in Europe and is meant to be sold in 120 markets worldwide, is an integral part of Ford’s One Ford plan to leverage its global assets.
The Saarlouis plant has more than 6,500 employees while another 2,000 people work at a nearby car-parts supplier, making the entire industrial complex the biggest employer in the German state of Saarland. [via autonews - sub. required]