Production of Ford's new Puma, the first hybrid vehicle built in Romania, starts in Craiova

US carmaker Ford is starting on Tuesday in Craiova the production of its new compact crossover Puma, the first hybrid vehicle built in Romania, on an investment of 200 million euros, the company informed in a release. Ford marks today the start of the serial production of the new Ford Puma at the state-of-the-art plant in Craiova, to meet the demand of customers in the fastest growing segment in the automotive industry. Coming with the advanced 48-volt EcoBoost Hybrid electric propulsion technology, the new SUV-inspired compact crossover is the first hybrid vehicle manufactured in Romania. Ford Puma was unveiled at the end of June this year and joins the extensive range of Ford SUVs and crossovers in Europe, including Fiesta Active, Focus Active, EcoSport, Kuga, Edge and the new Explorer Plug-In Hybrid, Ford said in the release. In order to support the production of the new Puma model, Ford started last year an ample recruitment process for hiring about 1,700 people. Ford's total investment in Craiova since the plant's takeover in 2008 amounts to about 1.5 billion euros. The new Ford Puma represents the next chapter in Ford's human-centered design philosophy aimed at strengthening the Ford brand in Europe in terms of quality, multitude of specs and driving pleasure. I have no doubt that Puma will be a huge success across Europe, said Stuart Rowley, Ford of Europe president, cited in the document. In addition to the mild-hybrid engine technology, the Ford Puma has a 456-liter cargo capacity, including the Ford MegaBox extended boot space. The new model produced in Craiova comes with safety and comfort technology packs, such as the Adaptive Cruise Control with Start & Stop, the Speed Sign Recognition System and the Lane Centring System. Ford Puma has premium comfort features, such as lumbar massage seats, the first of this kind in the segment, the company said. I am honored and proud that together with our Craiova team we are part of this new and special chapter represented by the start of the production of the new Puma. It's a great achievement for us to produce here, in Craiova, not only the most technologically advanced vehicle ever manufactured in Romania, but also the first with integrated hybrid technology. I would like to thank all our employees for all their work and for everything they do everyday for our company, said Ian Pearson, president of Ford of Romania. Distinctive versions include the sporty Puma ST-Line inspired from the Ford Performance range and the elegant Puma Titanium X - first presented last month at the Frankfurt Motor Show, Germany. Ford Romania, which currently employs about 6,000 people, will for the first time manufacture two vehicles in parallel at its Craiova-based facility. The new Ford Puma is one of the 17 electric vehicles Ford will be launching in Europe by 2024, including 8 this year. Early this year Ford announced that every Ford nameplate will include an electrified option - mild-hybrid, full-hybrid, plug-in hybrid or full-electric - delivering one of the most encompassing line-ups of electrified options for European customers. Ford expects electric engines to account for more than half of the company's car sales by the end of 2022. The new Puma will go on sale at the end of this year and will be marketed on all of Ford's European markets. AGERPRES (RO - editor: Andreea Marinescu; EN - author: Simona Klodnischi, editor: Simona Iacob)

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