The second largest US automaker, Ford Motor, has said it was implementing the end part of a 2.3 billion euro ($2.6 billion) expansion program for its Spanish division, with the company claiming the honor of having the largest investment in the country’s auto business.
Ford announced in a statement that its investment strategy first rolled out in 2011 with an initial batch of 1.1 billion euros, followed by the rest of 1.2 billion euros beginning with 2013. The Ford investment in its Spanish manufacturing operations is also part of the larger current of moving south the auto production of the continent – with wages offered to workers usually lower than in France, Germany or the United Kingdom. Ford in 2014 decided to axe one of its loss-making factories in Belgium, in a drive to restructure the loss-making European division by mirroring the decisions made in the US after the latest Great Recession. Spain follows the same pattern as Mexico does for the Americas – both now very successful in attracting automotive investments. Both countries keep wages down and most of the output is reserved for export – with close to 80 percent of Ford’s Spanish plant production going outside the country.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy was on site on Thursday at the Ford assembly facility located in the eastern region of, acknowledging the auto industry’s crucial role in the Spanish economical recovery. Following the completion of the investment program, Ford will be able to manufacture six different model lines from the current four and also decided to expand the exports towards countries outside of Europe – including sending the Transit Connect compact vans to the United States.