Joint investment in Welsh engine plantFord has announced that it will be investing around £24 million at its Bridgend factory in Wales. The company will be producing a new, greener engine at the factory which employs around 2,000 people. The new EcoBoost petrol engine is due to go into production sometime in 2014.
Ford has announced that it will be investing around £24 million at its Bridgend factory in Wales. The company will be producing a new, greener engine at the factory which employs around 2,000 people. The new EcoBoost petrol engine is due to go into production sometime in 2014. The news has been heralded by Ford, who praised the Welsh government's decision to also plough £12 million into the project and by local council chiefs. Jeff Jones, former leader of Bridgend council, commented: "It's fantastic news, anything that helps these workers benefits the wider local economy".
Car industry expert, Dr Peter Wells also welcomed the news, saying: "This is good news for Wales and speaks volumes for the way in which the workforce has continued to change and adapt." Dr Wells, who is a director at the Centre for Automotive Industry Research (CAIR) at Cardiff Business School went on to explain that car companies were putting great effort into developing engines that are greener and more fuel efficient, anticipating new regulations to come into force soon. Professor Kevin Morgan of Cardiff University added: "Private sector jobs are worth their weight in gold right now in the Welsh economy. The growth prospects of the public sector are pretty grim, which is why we should encourage investment in the private sector. It is difficult because historically private sector jobs have been underdeveloped in Wales".
Ford now says that the Bridgend plant is to remain the base for production of the key 1.5 litre engine for the long term. A Ford spokesman explained: "Production is due to start next year and then ramp up over the following two years to ensure that Bridgend output is maintained at optimum capacity during this period". The factory will also continue to produce the 1.6 litre EcoBoost engine introduced in 2011.
The joint investment is thought to directly secure 500 permanent jobs. The Bridgend plant will grow to some 2,300 employees by the end of this year, which is the most ever employed by Ford at the site.
Government economy minister, Edwina Hart, added: "The Welsh government has worked closely with Ford to secure this investment and is delighted to confirm a support package of £12m towards this exciting programme. This will help safeguard and create high quality production and engineering jobs in Wales". The new engine has an light aluminium block and will produce similar performance to its 1.6 litre big brother but with better fuel consumption and reduced CO2 emissions.
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