Ford Motor Co. has upped production of its 1-liter EcoBoost engine at its Cologne, Germany, engine plant, a good signal that three-cylinder petrol engines will power more cars over the next decade.

The automaker has added a second shift to that German engine plant, one of two Ford plants that produces the 1-liter three-cylinder (the other is Ford’s Romanian Craiova facility). The additional shift doubles the 500 engines per day capacity and the production increase is part of a plan aimed at having 300,000 European vehicles equipped with a 1-liter, gas-powered EcoBoost by 2015 — even as European auto sales are at two-decade lows and diesel remains the cheaper and more popular option there.

LMC Automotive projects global three-cylinder engine production will rise nearly 10% to 5.6 million this year. It estimates that by 2018, production will have nearly doubled to 9.8 million.

Ford’s 1-liter EcoBoost three-cylinder, which will make its North American debut in the Fiesta subcompact car later this year, already is an option on some European Ford models and will be offered on seven more, including the midsize Mondeo, which is the global version of the U.S. Fusion sedan.


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