( WorldCarFans )- Ford Kuga appears to be on a head-start of note ahead of its public unveiling at the Geneva Motor Show next month. Word from Ford is that the crossover SUV has begun production already in Ford's German plant. About 45,000 units of Kuga will roll off the production line in the coming year, hopefully all finding loving homes. At this rate Ford will be selling this vehicle outside of the exhibition halls in Geneva!
The Saarlouis factory will export about 8 in 10 Kugas that it makes to over 32 countries. Kuga comes with Ford's 2.0 Duratorq diesel engine , a good array of colours, SUV features, space and other crossover characteristics.
"A distinctive 'kinetic design' exterior, Ford's acclaimed on-road vehicle dynamics and premium-like quality are just some of the highlights Kuga will bring to the fast-growing crossover market segment," said Ford Europe CEO John Fleming.
Production of the all-new Ford Kuga, Ford of Europe's first entry into the highly competitive crossover market, began today at the Ford plant in Saarlouis, Germany.
The company plans to build around 45,000 examples of the new model in Saarlouis this year - equivalent to nearly 10 per cent of the plant's annual production volume.
Altogether Ford invested a very significant amount in new manufacturing technology to support Kuga production at Saarlouis. Sales of the Kuga will progressively begin across all European markets a little later this year.
"A distinctive 'kinetic design' exterior, Ford's acclaimed on-road vehicle dynamics and premium-like quality are just some of the highlights Kuga will bring to the fast-growing crossover market segment," remarked John Fleming, President and CEO Ford of Europe.
The Kuga is the fourth model to be launched at Saarlouis in the past 12 months. It follows the new Ford C-MAX in March 2007, the new Ford Focus in December 2007 and the new Ford Focus ST earlier this month.
And with the introduction of the Kuga, Saarlouis now manufactures for the first time three different model series at the same time - Focus, C-MAX and Kuga.
The Ford Kuga is being built exclusively in Saarlouis and around 84 per cent of production will be exported to a total of 32 different countries. The five largest sales markets are Germany, Italy, Great Britain, France and Spain.
With 6,600 employees, the Ford plant in Saarlouis is the largest employer in the Saarland. A further 2,000 people are employed at the neighboring supplier park which supports the plant.
More than eleven million vehicles have been produced by Ford in Saarlouis since the start of manufacturing there on January 16, 1970. The Ford Escort (more than 6.5 million), Ford Capri, Ford Fiesta and Ford Orion have all been built there in the past. And the Ford Focus since 1998.
In 2007 a total of 392,413 vehicles rolled off the production line in Saarland. This is expected to increase to 425,000 vehicles in 2008.