First Ford electric car plant in Europe opens in Cologne

12.06.2023, 15:45

The US carmaker Ford opened its first European electric car plant in the German city of Cologne on Monday, with production expected to start by year's end.

Work is now under way with prototypes. The plant's capacity will be 250,000 electric cars per year.

"The Cologne EV Center will be Ford’s first carbon neutral assembly plant to open globally and supports the company’s commitment to reach carbon neutrality across its entire European footprint of facilities, logistics and direct suppliers by 2035," the company said in a statement.

The company invested nearly $2 billion in the plant.

Bill Ford, the company's executive chairman, called the centre "the start of a new generation of clean manufacturing and electric vehicles in Europe."

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz praised the investment as good news for Cologne and for car production in Germany. Hendrik Wüst, the head of the North Rhine Westphalia state where Cologne is located, also praised the move.

Ford is under pressure, as the car company has lost ground in the European passenger car business. It was late to electric vehicle production.

Recently, management announced that parts of its Cologne development department would be relocated to the United States and staff would be cut. At the Cologne site, where Ford has been present since 1930, 2,300 of the current 14,000 employees are to be cut.

However, the investments in electric vehicles are intended to make it clear that the location will continue to play an important role for the US company.