Ford Motor Company says will stop producing its B-Max model at its Romanian unit Automobile Craiova in September and will start producing its smaller sport utility vehicle EcoSport in the fall. Ford plans to hire an additional 500 people, on top of plans for more than 1,000 new hires announced earlier this year, meaning Ford Romania staff will rise by just under 1,700.

Ford Romania confirmed this week that it has started the process of recruiting  people to support production of the new EcoSport small sports utility vehicle which is due to start later this fall. Ford Romania is looking to hire basic and skilled operators to augment the current workforce of more than 2,700 employed in the vehicle and engine assembly operations.

Craiova Vehicle Assembly Operations is an important part of Ford’s manufacturing footprint in Europe, with as much as €200 million being invested to build the Ford EcoSport. The vehicle is currently sourced from Ford’s operations in India.

Significant upgrades have taken place in three key areas of Craiova’s vehicle operations, with 220 new robots to further improve efficiency and quality having already been installed in the Paint, Trim and Chassis, and Body shops.

Since acquiring the Craiova facility in 2008, Ford has invested more than €1.2 billion in its Romanian manufacturing operations. The Ford B-MAX multi-activity vehicle is currently built in Craiova, plus Ford’s 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine – the only engine to win the International Engine of the Year award three years in succession.

Ford also continues to seek opportunities to build further products in Craiova so that it can fully utilize the facility’s capacity and asset utilization, while productive discussions with the Romanian Government are ongoing in regards to infrastructure and logistics improvements, in order to maintain the global competitiveness of the Ford Craiova manufacturing operations.

The Craiova-built EcoSport will be sold across Europe, excluding Russia, while Ford’s Chennai plant will continue to build the EcoSport for domestic Indian sales and for other export markets around the world.

In 2016, Ford’s SUV sales in Europe grew by more than 30 percent, while sales of the EcoSport increased by more than 40 percent and continue to grow in 2017.

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