Ford Bridgend produces 13,000,000 engines
Ford Bridgend will add a new SI6 to its engine range on the plant's 26th birthday. Since the plant was inaugurated in May 1980, its workforce has built the engines powering 13,000,000 Ford Motor Company vehicles.
Today Bridgend plant, which counts Ford-owned brands Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo among its customers, launches volume production of the short in-line six-cylinder unit. This year the facility is on track to turn out almost 700,000 petrol engines.
CVH – first off the line
In the late 1970s Bridgend plant was built to manufacture Ford's new CVH (Compound Valve angle Hemispherical combustion chamber) engine for Escort, Sierra and Fiesta. The Fiesta itself is 30 years old this year.
By 1981, 2,100 CVH units a day were being sent to Bridgend's customer plants and a total of 6,000,000 were produced before CVH assembly was transferred to South Africa at the end of 1996.
In 1988 work began on an extension to Bridgend plant which was completed three years later ready for the introduction of a new 16-valve, four-cylinder engine – codenamed Zetec. In 1991 the Zetec was launched in the Escort and was a key element of the Mondeo launch. In 1993 the 500,000 production landmark had been passed. Originally a 1.8-litre, unit, Zetec later also featured in 1.6 and 2.0 sizes.
In 2004, when the South Wales facility was the final Ford plant worldwide to build this proven and versatile petrol power unit, assembly ended on a production total of 3,500,000 Zetec engines.
In the same year demand for Zetec's successor – known as Zetec-SE – topped 500,000 units a year. In 2005 the number of Zetec-SE engines produced was 526,186 for Fiesta, Fusion and Focus. The 1.6-litre version at the heartland of the Ford petrol engine range was enhanced with Twin Independent Variable Camshaft Timing (Ti-VCT) in 2005 for all-new Ford Focus. A version of the 1.6 engine is also used in the Volvo S40 series.
Bridgend's Premier Automotive Group business
In 1996 the plant added Jaguar to its customers and today 3.2 and 4.0-litre V8s are supplied for XJ8, XK8, XKR and S-TYPE models. Another line dedicated to engine assembly for Ford's Premier Automotive Group was launched in 2004. Since then it has concentrated on assembling 4.2 and 4.4-litre V8s for Land Rover and Jaguar models. The Premier Automotive Group (PAG) comprises Ford's luxury brands – Jaguar, Land Rover, Volvo and Aston Martin.
Last year Bridgend's production for PAG neared 80,000 – a figure now set to accelerate once the new SI6 hits the market. Ford Bridgend's annual production rate will reach 1,000,000 units by 2009.
Looking back 26 years
In May 1980 Ask the Family, the Dukes of Hazzard, Not the Nine O'clock News and The Waltons were on TV. JR was shot in Dallas
Footballer Steven Gerrard was born May 30
Top 3 songs were Johnny Logan - What's Another Year, Hot Chocolate - No Doubt About It and Michael Jackson - She's Out Of My Life
Mount St Helens erupted on May 19, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher made her "the lady's not for turning" speech in this month and must have toys were the Rubik's Cube, Action Man and Pacman
Bridgend plant today: key facts
141,702 sq m
Bridgend plant: 2005 full-year production
Fiesta, Fusion, Focus, Volvo S40
Jaguar XJ8, XK8, S- TYPE
Jaguar XJR, XKR
AJ V8 total
Land Rover Discovery, Range Rover, Jaguar XJ
PAG flexline total