Ford Invests $500 Million-Plus In German Auto Plant

By John S. McClenahen If everything goes according to schedule, Ford Motor Co.'s renovated car plant in Cologne, Germany, will begin turning out new Fiesta models in late November. More than $500 million is being invested in new presses, robots, and production processes. An additional $60 million is committed to infrastructure in a new supplier park, which will be linked by a conveyer system to the Cologne plant. "After its renovation, the Ford plant in Cologne will be one of the most modern automotive production facilities in the world," claims David Thursfield, president and CEO of Ford of Europe. Virtual and Internet-based systems will optimize the link between dealers, suppliers, and the plant, says Ford. The facility also will feature a different kind of cost-sharing for Ford. Equipment suppliers will retain ownership of machinery and be paid on a unit-output basis. With the renovation and the addition of a third shift, maximum daily capacity at the plant is forecast to rise by 555 vehicles (45%) to 1,800 units.

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