It’s about time for the new global 2012 Ford Focus to hit the streets, and Germany has entered production to fill European demand.
The Saarlouis plant in the southwest German region of Saarland will build the Focus sedan, hatchback (ST hot hatch joins the line in early 2012), and wagon exclusively for the European market. 2010 is the Saarlouis’ plant 40th anniversary, and to celebrate, Ford invested 300 million euros (around $400 million) to upgrade the factory’s features with new body construction robots, tooling, and low-emissions painting technology. At full strength, the plant can put out up to 1850 vehicles per day in three shifts. To help reach those numbers, Ford extended permanent offers to 500 temporary contract workers.
“This is an important day for Ford, the Saarland and for Germany,” said Ken Macfarlane, Ford of Europe’s VP of manufacturing. “Saarlouis is proud to have been the lead plant for Ford Focus production in Europe since the first model was launched in 1998. Throughout that time, its skilled and dedicated workforce has worked hard to ensure that the plant is recognized throughout the industry for its manufacturing efficiency and quality.”
Saarlouis, also home to the Kuga, joins Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant located in Wayne as the current hubs for the 2012 Focus. St. Petersburg, Russia, is scheduled to starting building the new Focus (sedan and hatchback) in mid-2011; sites in Chongqing, China, and Rayong, Thailand, will begin in 2012 and are responsible for distribution to the Asia-Pacific area.
Not unaccustomed to fair amounts of enthusiast attention, the new Focus goes on sale in the United States early next year and will be available in 120 markets around the world. Since its 1998 introduction, Ford has sold six million copies on the Old Continent and over 10 million in total worldwide.