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April 06, 2011

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Ford Starts €11.6 Million Expansion of its Cologne Design Centre

COLOGNE, Germany – Work on the €11.6 million expansion of Ford's Design Centre in Cologne-Merkenich officially started today, with the laying of a foundation stone by Cologne Lord Mayor Jürgen Roters, Ford of Germany Chairman Bernhard Mattes, and Martin Smith, Executive Director, Design, Ford of Europe.

“This is an important expansion of the Ford Design Centre as Cologne-Merkenich has the global lead on the design and development of Ford’s small and compact vehicles,” Mattes said. “We are delighted that the Cologne Design and Engineering Centre is playing such an important part in Ford's future and is an integral part of our global One Ford strategy.”

Mattes noted that key models such as the Ford Fiesta and the all-new Ford Focus are not only manufactured in Germany, but also are mainly designed and engineered in Cologne.

The expansion, to be completed by year end, includes a new 3,000-square-metre facility with two floors with room for 100 new work stations. The new building will be equipped with a new “powerwall” capable of projecting vehicle and concept designs in a three-dimensional and virtual environment.

The project also includes a redesign of the existing design studios, plus the installation of new milling machines that use computer-aided design to create precise clay models of new vehicle designs.

“Outstanding design is what sets our brand apart and what excites our customers,” Martin Smith said. “With the development of Ford kinetic design in 2005, we introduced a new design language which has given our models a distinctive and, above all, dynamic look. The expertise of our design team in Cologne-Merkenich is helping kinetic design to become increasingly important for Ford on a global basis. For the design team, the new building will be a great place to work and will provide a highly-motivational environment."

Each Euro invested is proof of the deep bond between Ford and Cologne, Lord Mayor Roters said.

“In my opinion, Ford and Cologne are inseparable,” he said. “The people of Cologne can be proud of everything that Ford has done for our city and for the region of North-Rhine Westphalia over the past eight decades. The company continues to be an exceptional economic contributor and one of the most important employers in the Cologne area. I am delighted to see that Ford will continue to be our strong corporate citizen on the River Rhine.”

The building project is the largest single expansion of the Design Centre since since it was first constructed in 1968. Today, the Design Centre covers a total of 13,000 square metres, and includes an aerodynamic wind tunnel built in 1984. The Design Centre provides space for a total of 250 employees from 14 nations. In addition, a team of about 70 designers, responsible for Ford of Europe's commercial vehicle design, is located at Dunton Technical Centre in Essex, UK, the centre of excellence for commercial vehicle development and Ford Powertrain.

The main contractor for the current expansion is Wolff & Müller, Spezialbau GmbH & Co. KG, Köln. The planning of the new building is led by Ingenieurbüro WPW, Saarbrücken.

Photo: Ford

(April 5, 2011)


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