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Motor - New Car: Fiesta Special Supplement
"The Fiesta File"
5th February 1977



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New Car: Fiesta Special Supplement

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.....leased premises at Westhafen, Berlin, where they began assembling 50 cars a day from April onwards, output for the year being 2677. The Model T was replaced by the Model A, and sales 'increased so rapidly that the Berlin plant was bursting at the seams.

Many German cities competed for the honour of having Ford's new German plant, but the Mayor of Cologne was then a certain Konrad Adenauer, destined to run Germany so successfully in the early post-war period. As a result. Henry Ford came to Cologne to lay the foundation stone of the new plant on October 2, 1930. In April, 1931 the Berlin plant which by now had produced over 25,000 Model As was closed and production resumed in the new Cologne plant in May. Its capacity was then said to be 180 vehicles an hour. The Model A gave way to the revised Model Bl still with four cylinders, which with special German bodywork was christened the Rheinland. In 1933 Cologne also added the Ford Eight to its range, selling it as the Koln. Later both the Ford V-8 and the Ford Ten - known as the Eifel with its special and rather attractive German coachwork - went into production at Cologne.

By 1939, annual production of cars and trucks at Cologne was over 35,000 a year which made Ford the third largest German car production company, the Eifel version of the Ford Ten appeared in revised form as the first Taunus, still with the 1172 cc side valve engine that was to power not only many British pre- and post-war Anglias and Prefects but also many post-war British trials specials. The Cologne plant went over almost entirely to truck production during the War, was badly damaged by artillery fire in 1945, but later in the year resumed truck production. The pre-war Taunus went back into production in 1948, but in 1952 was replaced by the first post-War Cologne design, the Taunus 12M. This was a true post-war model with a monocoque body and with the traditional transverse leaf springs at front and rear replaced by coil spring independent front suspension and semi elliptic rear suspension. The 1172 cc side valve engine soldiered on beneath the bonnet, however, as the four cylinder overhead valve 1498 cc engine for the Taunus 15M did not appear until 1955.

In 1952, production exceeded the immediate pre-War figure for the first time, totalling 40,387 and Ford Werke AG began thinking of expanding production outside the Cologne area, the first step being the acquisition in 1956 of a site at Wulfrath for a components factory.

The dynamic John Andrews became head of the Ford Werke in 1957, and production rose from 87,289 in that year to 505,823 in 1965 when, already a sick man, he handed over to Robert Layton and became President of Ford of Europe. During this period, one of Cologne's most successful models, the Taunus 17M in its P3 version was introduced in 1960 - a good looking car which sold very well. On the other hand, Cologne inherited the front wheel drive V4 Cardinal originally intended to go into production in the States as a small car. Handed over to the German company it became the 1962 Taunus 12M but was never really competitive with Dagenham's Cortina introduced in the same year.

Ford Werke production capacity was expanded still further with the coming into operation of a satellite assembly plant in 1963 at Genk in Belgium. At this plant was built the first joint British-German product, the Transit van, which went into production in 1965, the same year as Ford of Germany's proving ground at Lommel in Belgium was officially opened.

There was further expansion in 1966, when the building of the Merkenich Engineering Centre - later to be renamed the John Andrews Centre - was begun, and a site for a new rear axle plant was acquired at Duren. The foundation stone of yet another assembly plant, that at Saarlouis, was also laid that year.

In the years that followed, other Anglo-German models went into production on both sides of the North Sea, the Escort at Genk in 1967, the Capri in 1969 and then the Consul and Granada models that replaced the Zephrys and Zodiacs in Britain and the big Taunus 17M/20M/ and 26M range in Germany. Production continued to expand,.....

Captions -

Top-Left - Some 600 Model Ts were built in the Berlin-Westhafen plant in 1926-28
Top-Right - Above: Henry Ford lays the foundation stone of the new Cologne plant. Below: The first Eifel, Cologne's Ford Ten, leaves the assembly line
Middle-Left - In 1928 the Model A went into production in the Berlin plant
Middle - The dashing Ford Eifel cabriolet of 1935 was one of several special bodies listed
Middle-Right - Post-war production at Cologne resun with this pre-war Taunus of 1172 cc
Bottom-Right - January, 1952 and the first Taunus 12M, Cologne's first modern car, with unit construction and independent suspension leaves the line


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