The three-millionth Ford Focus to be produced in Europe, rolled off the Saarlouis assembly line in Germany today.

One of Europe’s most popular cars with sales of 468,000 units in 2003, the Ford Focus is also produced at Valencia in Spain and St. Petersburg in Russia; Hermosillo in Mexico; Pacheco in Argentina; and Wayne in the USA. More than four million have now been sold worldwide, with banner years in 2000 and 2001 when the Focus achieved the status of being the best-selling car in the world.

At the Saarlouis plant, one of Ford’s most productive facilities in Europe, 7,300 employees currently build a combined production of more than 1,500 Ford Focus and Focus C-MAX models each day, in three shifts. The sequence and the quantity of the various versions are completely flexible, ensuring a fast response to changes in customer demand.

Last year production reached a level of 370,600 units. 71 per cent of all vehicles produced were exported out of Germany to more than 80 countries around the world. Since opening in 1970, the Saarlouis Assembly Plant has produced more than nine million vehicles, including Ford of Europe’s most successful car ever, the Ford Escort with more than 18 million built, and the legendary Ford Capri.

In a ceremony at the plant, employees and guests cheered as John Fleming, Vice President Manufacturing, Ford of Europe, drove the three millionth vehicle – a Ford Racing Blue, 173 PS, Ford Focus ST 170 - off the line.

He said: "With the top-selling Focus and new Focus C-MAX off to a strong start in 2004, products from Saarlouis are leading Ford’s increase in European market share. With 48,000 Ford Focus and Focus C-MAX models sold in January, Saarlouis helped to make the Blue Oval western Europe's best-selling brand in the first month of 2004," said John Fleming.

Published : 28/02/04 Author : Melanie Carter

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