Ford picks German plant to build new EV, reports say

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Ford Motor Co. has chosen its factory in Cologne, Germany, to build a mass-market electric car based on Volkswagen Group’s MEB electric architecture, local media reports said.

The automaker will invest 1 billion euros ($1.2 billion) into the factory for EV production, according a report in the Cologne newspaper, the Koelner Stadt-Anzeiger, and other media.

Ford picked Cologne over its factory in Craiova, Romania, the Stadt-Anzeiger said, citing sources close to the automaker. Craiova had been considered the favorite to get EV production because of its lower labor costs, the paper said.

“We have announced previously that we will build a new electric vehicle for Europe based on Volkswagen’s Modular Electric Drive platform beginning in 2023, but we have not yet confirmed sourcing and we do not comment on speculation,” a Ford spokesman told Automotive News Europe.

The Cologne plant currently builds the Fiesta small hatchback.

Ford and VW Group in January 2019 announced an industrial cooperation on commercial vans and midsize pickups that was subsequently expanded to autonomous and electric vehicles.

Ford’s MEB-based electric car is being designed and engineered at the automaker’s European development center in Merkenich, near Cologne. The car is expected to go on sale in 2023.

Ford is considering whether to add a second MEB-based car, Ford of Europe President Stuart Rowley told Automotive News Europe in March.

Ford’s EVs will be very different from MEB cars sold by VW, Rowley said. “We are very focused on the fact that these products will be Fords. They will look like a Ford, drive like a Ford, feel like a Ford and will be built by Ford,” he said.

Ford has said it expects to deliver more than 600,000 MEB-based vehicles in Europe over a six-year period starting in 2023.

VW’s first MEB-based car is the ID3 Golf-sized hatchback, which went on sale in Europe in September. It will followed by the ID4 crossover targeted at the U.S. and Chinese markets as well as Europe.

The automakers are also collaborating on internal combustion engine vehicles — a Ford compact van that will be based on the new-generation VW Caddy and a VW pickup that will use the Ford Ranger platform.

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