Ford is to invest $1 billion in a transformation of its vehicle assembly plant in Cologne to be the company’s European manufacturing centre for electric vehicles, writes Brian Byrne.

In a virtual press conference last week, Stuart Rowley, president, Ford of Europe, also said that all of the company’s passenger vehicles in Europe will be zero-emission capable, all-electric or plug-in hybrid by mid-2026, and will be completely all-electric four years later. The first European-built, volume all-electric passenger vehicle for European customers will be produced at Cologne from 2023, and the company is considering a second vehicle for the facility.

Ford’s commercial vehicles range will be zero-emissions capable, all-electric or plug-in hybrid, by 2024, and by 2030, two-thirds of its commercial vehicle sales are expected to be all-electric or plug-in hybrid. Last year Ford achieved its sixth successive year as the leading commercial vehicle sales brand in Europe.

Rowley said that the pandemic had reinforced the critical part commercial vehicles play in the world, and that Ford is also investing heavily in connected solutions for fleets so businesses can serve customers in a different way. He also noted that the company is investing $7 billion in autonomous technology over the next four years.

Globally, Ford is investing at least $22 billion in electrification through 2025, which represents a doubling of its previous commitments to the technology.