Forty years’ history
Ford’s arrival in the mid-1970s marked the Spanish automotive industry’s entry into the modern age. The US automaker brought with it the quality, procedural and supply criteria that gave the burgeoning local automotive base the impetus to enter a new developmental stage. In October 1976, manufacture started of a model (at the time, shared with other plants) that Ford intended to conquer the Old World. Four decades later, the Almussafes factory has progressed from making a high-volume hatchback to building select products like the Vignale range, which has recently welcomed a new member — the Kuga — to its stable. This vehicle forms part of a six-model mix that the factory has steadily expanded over the last few years, in doing so demonstrating a sometimes all-but-inexplicable degree of flexibility. Around the factory, the Valencian supply base — which undeniably owes a lot to Ford — is demonstrating, particularly through its SMEs, that its capacity to put new projects into practice extends well beyond its local environment. Several examples of differentiated development have emerged in recent years among firms based in this autonomous community. Valencia is set to remain a source of industry good news well into the medium term.