IIn Europe, future Fords should be electric, more desirable and also more expensive. Martin Sander started as the new boss this summer with the task of overhauling everything at Ford’s cultural headquarters in Cologne and Ford Europe as a whole. The plan sounds ambitious compared to other manufacturers: “In 2030 there will be no combustion engines in the salesrooms of Ford Europe.” Investments in combustion models with a life of a few years will then no longer make sense. Signs of the new era of electric vehicles are visible throughout Ford’s workforce in Cologne, with many construction sites on factory premises, even in assembly halls. Where until recently the Ford Fiesta minivan was built on two assembly lines, only one assembly line continues to run. The second one was demolished, and the excavators and concrete mixers are now creating conditions for the installation of a new assembly line for electric vehicles in a tunnel made of plastic sheet, which a medium-sized electric SUV based on Volkswagen’s technical base. The MEB construction kit will be built from 2023 onwards.
In Sander’s view, Ford is building on past strengths with factory transformation: “100 years ago Ford was probably the most innovative company on the planet because it reinvented the industry and set many standards in this new automotive industry,” he says. He told FAZ “2 billion dollars will go into the development and construction of our new factory of the future on the site of the Cologne factory, for our first battery electric vehicle produced in Europe.”