Ford has confirmed a new light commercial vehicle will be built in Romania in 2023, with an electric version set to follow a year later.
A $300 million investment in the Craiova Assembly Plant is the latest part of Ford's aim to electrify its entire commercial vehicle range, which will be 100% zero-emissions capable by 2024 as either all-electric or plug-in hybrid models. The company expects two-thirds of its commercial vehicle sales to be EVs or PHEVs by 2030.
Craiova will become Ford's third European production facility to build an all-electric vehicle, following recent investments in its plants in Cologne, Germany, and Kocaeli, Turkey.
"Our plan to build this new light commercial vehicle in Romania reflects our continuing positive partnership with local suppliers and the community,” said Ford of Europe president Stuart Rowley. He explained the move "sends another clear signal that we are on an accelerated path to providing our commercial vehicle customers with a zero-emissions future in Europe”.
The plant currently produces the Ecosport and Puma compact SUVs, as well as Ford's 1.0-litre Ecoboost engine, and employs around 6000 staff.
Ford has already confirmed the 2023 Transit Custom will be built in Turkey, alongside the Volkswagen Transporter as part of the Ford-Volkswagen Alliance. The two vans will effectively be siblings, following an agreement between the two manufacturers aimed at boosting profits and improving economies of scale.
Commercial vehicles are a key market for both firms in Europe but particularly Ford, with most of its profits in the region coming from Transit variant sales.
The tie-up will also see the new Transit Connect share a platform with the VW Caddy, and the Ranger and Amarok pick-up trucks co-developed by the two brands.