Business Minister Mark Prisk visited Ford’s technical centre at Dunton, Essex, where he was given a tour of the laboratories where all new models and engines are vigorously tested before signing off the multi-million pound loan guarantee.
The guarantee is for Ford’s £450 million loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB) and will allow Ford to invest £1.5 billion in greener technology over the next five years.
Workers at the Dunton site, as well as those in Dagenham, Southampton and Bridgend will benefit from the extra investment.
Business Minister Mark Prisk said: “Ford has an impressive track record in research and development. Its investment of £1.5 billion over the next five years is a great opportunity to take the lead in developing low carbon manufacturing.
“This backing from the Government will help to ensure the long term success of manufacturing in the UK and make sure we are at the forefront of new technologies.”
Ford UK currently provides 29 per cent of all of the UK’s automotive sector and development and is the home to the Ford Transit (until production moves to Turkey in 2011) and both petrol and diesel engine production.
Ford of Britain chairman, Joe Greenwell, said: “This European Investment Bank loan, and the loan guarantee from the UK Government, will help to unlock up to £1.5 billion in low-carbon and environmentally friendly engine and vehicle technology investment over the next 5 years.
“This is a testament to the skills and capabilities of our UK workforce and demonstrates the scale of our commitment to Britain.”
Ford has been trailing both electric and hybrid technology in best-selling models such as the Ford Focus and Transit Connect van.
The manufacturer also has a range of low-CO2 engines in the shape of the EcoBoost range, which reduces CO2 emissions and increases fuel economy in a number of Ford vehicles.