Ford announced that its assembly plant in Cologne, Germany, will be the single source for European production of the next-generation Fiesta subcompact.
The decision follows the signing of an investment agreement between Ford and the Works Council that represents Ford employees in Germany. The agreement runs from 2017 through 2021 and is expected to generate at least $400 million (€295 million) in savings for Ford while securing Ford-Werke GmbH’s 24,000 jobs.
“This agreement and our decision to build the next-generation Ford Fiesta in Cologne marks another important step in Ford of Europe’s transformation and underscores our commitment to invest in competitive vehicle production in Germany,” said Stephen Odell, president, Ford of Europe, Middle East and Africa.
The pact includes flexible working hours and workweeks for the Cologne plant, including insourcing some operations currently provided by suppliers. All these measures are expected to make the plant more cost efficient.
The changes will also allow Ford to move to a two-shift pattern with the start of production of the next-generation Fiesta to better adapt to fluctuations in demand. Additionally, a third shift will be added at Ford’s Cologne engine plant to meet expected future demand for the 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine.
The new agreement allows for “unprecedented production flexibility” for Ford in Germany, including the option of implementing additional daily shifts or reducing daily shifts under certain conditions to meet increases and decreases in demand. Furthermore, working hours per shift also can be adjusted up or down by 30 minutes as needed.
By Dan Mihalascu
Note: Current Fiesta pictured