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Ford is investing $2.5 billion in new engine and transmission plants in the Mexican states of Chihuahua and Guanajuato, respectively. The investment covers three projects: a new engine plant in Chihuahua; expansion of Ford’s I-4 and diesel engine lines in Chihuahua; and a new transmission plant—Ford’s first in Mexico—in Guanajuato.
The investment, which comes during the celebration of Ford’s 90th anniversary in the country, will bring 3,800 direct new jobs plus additional indirect jobs to Mexico. Ford officials announced the investment today during a ceremony with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and other members of the country’s Federal Government.
The new engine facility is being built within Ford’s Chihuahua Engine Plant, where the company will produce a new gasoline-powered engine. This $1.1-billion investment and 1,300 new jobs will allow Ford to export engines to the US, Canada, South America and the Asia-Pacific region, supporting the company’s growing small car lineup.
An additional $200-million dollar investment as well as the creation of 500 more new jobs is tied to the expansion of Ford’s current I-4 and diesel engines production in Chihuahua. As a result of these investments, the Ford Engine Plant in Chihuahua will become the biggest engine plant in Mexico.
In addition, Ford is building a new transmission plant within the premises of transmission supplier and longtime partner Getrag, which is based in the City of Irapuato in the State of Guanajuato. This $1.2-billion investment brings approximately 2,000 new jobs.
This new plant will produce two all-new automatic transmissions for key products primarily in South America, Europe and Asia Pacific as well as other North American markets.
Ford has 11,300 employees in Mexico. The Ford Fiesta, Fusion and Lincoln MKZ as well as the hybrid versions of both are manufactured in Mexico. Ford also has established an Engineering Center in Mexico, which employs more than 1,100 engineers who support global projects.
The new smart fortwo from Daimler will have its official premiere in China at the 16th Auto Shanghai next week. Following the successful market launch in Europe with a surge in new registrations (+22.7% as at March), the city coupé will be available in China from August 2015. The launch of the smart forfour will follow in early 2016.
China is well on the way to becoming the largest market worldwide for smart. We have made high and very successful investments in the brand there.—Annette Winkler, Head of smart
Just five years after the market launch, in 2014 China (including Hong Kong) had already become smart’s second-largest market (after Germany and ahead of Italy) with almost 18,000 vehicles sold. In the first quarter of 2015 China was the largest single market for Mercedes-Benz cars.
The new generation of the smart fortwo features a fully revamped technology package that greatly improves comfort, safety, agility and infotainment while retaining the unique compactness and ultra-small turning circle. The new features include:
New tridion safety cell with markedly higher proportions of ultra-high-strength hot-formed steels and super-high-strength multiphase steel. Crosswind Assist (standard) is an additional safety feature.
Three-cylinder engines, transmission (twinamic dual clutch six-speed transmission is a standard feature in China).
The new chassis has 100 mm more track width than its predecessor—good for added driving stability without impairing agility.
The smart Audio-System is a standard feature in China. It incorporates a radio, digital playback options and comprehensive smartphone integration. Audio streaming allows music tracks stored on a smartphone to be played back via a Bluetooth connection. Furthermore, in combination with the smart cross connect app, a mobile phone is turned into an intelligent co-driver, knowledgeable navigator and multimedia partner.
Since first introduction in 2009, more than 70,000 smarts have been sold in China. The brand now has more than 140 showrooms in more than 70 cities there.