Wednesday, 18 July 2012 10:35 AM
More than fifty years of engine production at Ford's Dagenham plant - it's something to be proud of in Britain. So many of us have either driven or had a ride in a car powered by one of the Made In Essex engines so it's no surprise that they have reached a major milestone - 40 million engines have rolled off the production line. This is enough to stretch out 20,000 miles if placed end to end! Over the years, Dagenham has produced engines for many a famed Ford, including the Escort, Cortina, Capri, Granada, and Transit. Ford Fiesta, Ford Focus and Ford Transit.
Production started in Dagenham in 1931 and in that time, they not only produced plenty of power but also played a major role in ensuring equal pay for women after some feisty female factory staff made a fabulous fuss in 1968. You can check it out in dramatic form in the movie Made In Dagenham. These days, the plant is best known for specialising in fuel-efficient diesel engines for cars across the Ford range, namely the Fiesta, Focus and Transit. More than half the world's diesel Ford engines are made here. The 1.6-litre TDCi diesel is also featured in the C-MAX, Mondeo, S-MAX and Galaxy models.
While 70% of the engines made here are for Ford, the other 30% - some 270,000 engines - are also made here for other badges. Jaguar Land Rover, Mazda, Peugeot Citroen and Volvo all use engines made here in the UK. A healthy export market stems from this factory with more than 85% of engines made here now being exported. If you're fooling around in a Ford in Argentina, Brazil, China, France, India, Italy, Japan, North America, South Africa, Taiwan, Thailand and The Philippines, it could well have a Dagenham-built engine.
As well as specialising in clean engines, the eco credentials extend to Ford's Dagenham Diesel Centre, a wind-powered plant, which has been operational since 2003.
Ford's Dagenham engine plant seen at night. One of three wind turbines in the background
There are plenty of robots to do the heavy lifting, but a human's touch is still the most efficient way to build engine perfection
You don't have to be a hunk to work here, but it helps!
Old over new. An aerial view of the old Dagenham plant above the new engine plant at night. The new plant is part of the huge old Dagenham estate and some of the vast old buildings (1930s, brick-built) remain in use. Note the old powerstation in the foreground (with huge Ford logo), now demolished, that used to power the old plant. In the old days, raw materials rolled into Dagenham and whole cars rolled out. These days, engine assembly is Dagenham's bread and butter
By Georgia Lewis
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