Ford Expands in China

New plant in Chongqing will produce Ford Focus.

Ford Motor Co. will be able to increase its passenger car capacity in China by one-third to 600,000 units with the opening of its new plant in Chongqing, China. The company invested $490 million in the green, highly automated, 1-million-square-meter assembly plant that will produce the next-generation Ford Focus, the company announced on Feb. 24.

The project is a joint venture with Changan Ford Mazda Automobile (CFMA). This is CFMA's second assembly plant in Chongqing and its third in China. With two assembly plants and engine and transmission plants already operating, Chongqing is now the largest global manufacturing location for Ford outside southeast Michigan.

"Ford is committed to China and a greener future," said Dave Schoch, CEO, Ford China. "This new plant and the all new Ford Focus produced here are the culmination of global best practices in manufacturing and vehicle development. This is the One Ford plan in action. This new flexible plant will help give us the capacity to realize our aggressive growth plans for the world's largest automotive market." The production line is designed for maximum flexibility, enabling it to produce six different types of vehicles.

The assembly plant includes stamping, body, assembly, paint, trim and final assembly operations. The new plant is thoroughly equipped with state-of-the-art automation, including one of the world's fastest stamping presses and 116 robots in the body shop for repeatable, consistent quality, according to the company.

The plant also features a sustainable paint shop. By maximizing a wide range of state-of-the-art technologies - from re-circulating the air in the paint shop spray booths to recovering heat energy from the oven exhaust - the paint shop is able to return massive energy and environment savings, Ford said. The energy saved in the paint shop -- 58 million kWh -- is enough to power almost 20,000 households in a major Chinese city for a year, or to light up the entire Bund in Shanghai day and night for almost 2.5 years. The paint shop utilizes Ford's 3-Wet high-solids paint process, improving paint quality, depth and durability, and significantly reducing volatile organic compounds, CO2 emissions and waste.

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