Ford Dagenham has now built more than 40 million engines at its East London plant during the past 50 years. The old British industrial site, which harkens back to the day when Ford dominated the U.K market, now makes diesel engines for small, medium, and large car models, as well commercial vehicles. More than 50% of global Ford diesel engine demand is supplied by Dagenham.
Dagenham-built engines have powered many famous Ford vehicles, including the Ford Escort, Cortina, Capri, Granada, and Transit models. Ford’s largest UK plant also supplies the best-selling vehicles in Britain- the Ford Fiesta, Ford Focus and Ford Transit. The Dagenham built-1.6-litre TDCi diesel engine is used in the latest Ford Fiesta Econetic model, which is rated at 85.6 mpg and CO2 emissions of 87 g/km.
Production at Dagenham for Ford vehicles accounts for about 70% of Dagenham’s output, with the balance of more than 270,000 engines for Jaguar Land Rover, Mazda, PSA Peugeot Citroën and Volvo. Ford is in the process of phasing out its successful 12-year joint venture with Peugeot since PSA is now the process of establishing a global alliance with General Motors. All of these companies are hemorrhaging billions of dollars – or euros in Europe as the Eurozone crisis deepens. The British pound is helping Ford somewhat, but losses are projected to quadruple in Europe for the balance of 2012. Ford Europe lost $149 million in Q1, a -$449 million swing compared to 2011.
Peugeot’s expertise in diesel engines as Europe’s second largest automaker was a major factor in helping Ford Europe recover from a disastrous management decision to forego investment in expensive diesel engines that blandly ignored the rising penetration of diesel engines during the late nineties. Excellent fuel economy and favorable tax treatment in the EU started a trend in diesel engine use – as much as 40% or more in some segments – which continues to this day.
In the U.S., Ford will build Transit commercial vans for the first time next year, supplementing the aging and rollover prone E-Series van. An unspecified diesel engine option – likely from Dagenham, which currently exports diesels to 12 countries – will be available in both cargo and passenger versions of the Transit in the U.S.