Ford rumored to build the EcoSport and Ka models in Romania image

The Detroit-based maker is said to add production of the mini Ka model and EcoSport small SUV in the portfolio of the company’s plant in Romania, according to a report from a local newspaper.

Ford did not initially have much success in Europe with its EcoSport small SUV, which was developed in Brazil and is currently built in India. However, due to the growing trend of SUVs in the region and helped by the automaker’s effort to meet the buyers’ taste by redesigning and re-engineering the model, sales have started to rise. Ford foresees that the trend will keep going upwards, thus a move to add the production closer to the main European markets would make sense. According to the local business newspaper Ziarul Financiar, the automaker is considering such a plan, by building the EcoSport model at its Romanian plant in Craiova. According to the paper’s sources, Ford could also produce the new-generation Ka in Craiova, which is currently build at Fiat’s plant in Tychy, Poland, but Ka output will end in April.

Ford currently makes the B-Max compact MPV in Romania, but the factory is operating well below its capacity of 300,000. The model was sold in around 46,000 units last year, 14 percent less than 2014, while the demand for the EcoSport SUV tripled in Europe to around the same figure. The company delivered almost 49,000 units of the Ka in the region in 2015, down 8 percent.

Ford declined to comment on the rumors. “There is nothing new to be announced,” President of the European operations, Jim Farley, told Automotive News Europe. “Craiova remains a very critical part of our operation. Expect the Ford team to be laser-focused on continuing to get most of the plant,” he said.

Via Automotive News / Ziarul Financiar