Production starts today in Germany on new flexifuel Ford C-Max

If you're ready to get your hands on one of Ford's redesigned C-Max vehicles, today is a good day because now is when production starts on the car in Sarrlouis, Germany. We told you about the new C-Max when it made its debut at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this month. To recap, the C-Max is available with a variety of engines that accept petrol, diesel, ethanol, and natural gas (availability varies by market) and range in power from 66 kW (90 HP) to 107 kW (145 HP). E85 works in the 1.8 flexifuel version.

The Saarlouis plant is the only factory that makes the C-Max and is the lead plant for the flexifuel Ford Focus. The new C-Max will be available in Europe in May and Ford says it expects to make almost 130,000 of them this year. The full release is after the jump.

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[Source: Ford]

SAARLOUIS, Germany, March 26, 2007 – Production of the new Ford C-MAX, featuring a new front end with 'kinetic design' elements, started today at the Ford plant in Saarlouis.

Roland Henz, Lord Mayor of Saarlouis, and Plant Manager Jacques Pollenus drove the first vehicle from the production line. The new Ford C-MAX will be launched across Europe starting in May. Ford C-MAX production volume in 2007 is expected to be 129,000 units.

Bernhard Mattes, chairman of Ford-Werke GmbH said: "The Ford C-MAX with its many interesting equipment features provides a solid basis for ensuring that the jobs of Ford employees in Saarlouis remain secure. We invested a total of €17 million in the development and modernization of the plant for the Ford C-MAX."

The Saarlouis plant is working at a maximum daily capacity of 1,920 units of the Ford Focus and the Ford C-MAX in a three-shift operation around the clock. These 1,920 vehicles – produced in a flexible manufacturing mix – include a total of 1,300 units of the Ford Focus as three- and five-door models, as well as the station wagon, and 620 units of the Ford C-MAX.

With its dynamic new front-end with 'kinetic design' elements and Ford family face, the new Ford C-MAX is a harmonious evolution of a proven package concept. Featuring significant improvements to interior design, quality and features, the new C-MAX can now be specified with an optional panorama glass roof and 'blue glass'.

Ford's acclaimed high levels of driving dynamics are retained for the new Ford C-MAX. The car now has a track that has been increased by approximately five millimeters compared to the outgoing model.

Driving assistance systems such as the anti-lock braking system (ABS) with electronic brake force distribution (EBD) and emergency brake assist (EBA), together with the car's electronic stability program (ESP), provide important support.

A particularly rigid car body defines the basic structure of the passive safety strategy in the new Ford C-MAX. In addition to the front and side airbags for the driver and front seat passenger, the "Ford Intelligent Protection System" (IPS) also includes inflatable curtain airbags for the first and second row of seats, as well as belt-tensioners and belt force limiters on the front seats.

In addition to the three modern gasoline-driven models and three just as powerful and economical Duratorq TDCi turbo-diesel models – offering a performance range from 66 kW (90 HP) to 107 kW (145 HP) – the Ford C-MAX is also available as a particularly environmentally-friendly natural gas variant and as a 1.8 'Flexifuel' that can be refueled with bio-ethanol (E85). As a regenerative source of energy won from biomass, bio-ethanol reduces carbon dioxide emissions by up to 80 percent.

The Ford plant in Saarlouis is the largest employer in the Saarland with 6,400 staff and a further 2,000 persons employed in the neighboring supplier industrial park. It is the 'lead' Ford plant for production of the Ford Focus, which has been manufactured there since August 1998. The share of skilled workers among the workforce amounts to 63 percent.

A total of 78 percent of all Ford Focus and Ford C-MAX models are exported from the Saar River to some 68 countries around the world, including Angola, Australia, Jamaica, Japan, Tahiti, Taiwan and New Zealand. The largest foreign markets by volume are Great Britain, Italy and France. The Ford Focus is also produced at plants in Valencia, Spain, and Vsevolozhsk near St. Petersburg in Russia. The C-MAX is manufactured exclusively in Saarlouis.

Since the first model of Ford Focus C-MAX, as it was then called, came off the production lines in Saarland on June 27, 2003, over 509,000 vehicles have been built and sold.

More than nine million vehicles have been produced in Saarlouis since the start of manufacturing there on January 16, 1970. The first model was the Ford Escort, followed by the Ford Capri, Ford Fiesta and Ford Orion. The record-holder in this series is the Ford Escort with more than 6.5 million units manufactured in Saarlouis.

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