Ford announced the new Ford Fiesta small car for North America will be produced at the company’s transformed Cuautitlán Assembly Plant beginning in early 2010 and a sporty European hatchback model is being added to the North American lineup alongside the popular sedan.

Transformation of the facility near Mexico City begins this year, as the plant is converted from its current production of F-Series pickups for the Mexican market to small cars for all of North America. The Chihuahua Engine Plant, which builds I-4 engines, also will assemble diesel engines for light- and medium-duty trucks in a variety of global markets. In addition, through a joint venture with Getrag (GFT), Ford will establish a new transmission plant in Guanajuato to support various Ford products. Company officials announced the trio of investments jointly with Mexico President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa.

A small car concept called the Verve showcased the design direction for the new Fiesta when it debuted at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January. Both sedan and hatchback models were displayed – with high praise from customers and the news media.

The new multi-plant development effort represents a $3 billion U.S. investment, including the support of local suppliers. It is Mexico’s largest ever automotive investment. The moves are expected to create approximately 4,500 Ford jobs. Together with all direct and indirect employment at suppliers, the moves affect 30,000 jobs in Mexico.

“Ford is absolutely committed to leveraging our global assets to accelerate the shift to more fuel-efficient small cars and powertrain technologies that people really want and value,” said Ford President and CEO Alan Mulally, who was in Mexico for the announcement. “Our investments in these facilities in Mexico are part of our plan to further realign our manufacturing capacity in line with the introduction of more small cars and crossovers.”

“Customers responded very positively after seeing both the sedan and hatchback versions of the Verve small car concept,” said Mark Fields, president of The Americas, Ford Motor Company. “We know the market is headed toward more small cars and crossovers. With our product and manufacturing flexibility, we will be able to offer both models and add production capacity.”

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