VALENCIA, SPAIN - Ford Motor Co. said its Valencia plant in Spain will build the company's first hybrid models for European customers. The automaker will produce two advanced technology derivatives of the all-new five-seat Ford C-MAX compact model -- a full hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) and a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV). 

Valencia was confirmed in 2009 as the European source for all versions of the Ford C-MAX and Grand C-MAX, which launch later this year. The models feature a range of new Ford EcoBoost petrol and Duratorq TDCi diesel engines. The Valencia plant also will produce the seven-seat version of the C-MAX for export to North America beginning in late 2011. 

"These new advanced technology models are key to Ford's commitment to delivering a portfolio of alternative powertrain vehicles globally and to European customers in the next few years," said John Fleming, chairman and CEO of Ford of Europe and executive vice president of global manufacturing and labor affairs. 

Fleming was speaking at a ceremony to mark the HEV and PHEV C-MAX announcement in the city of Valencia. 

"Our Valencia plant here in Spain will build these new C-MAX five-seat hybrid models exclusively for European customers seeking a practical, efficient and affordable environmental vehicle, while the export to North America of the new Grand C-MAX petrol model beginning in late 2011 opens a new era of production for the team at the plant," Fleming added. 

Total investment in the new Ford C-MAX program in Spain over the next three years, including the hybrid models, is almost $410 million (over €300 million). Investment in the hybrid programs is expected to be up to $36 million (around €27 million). The Spanish government and Valencia regional administration are providing the highest grant support in line with European Union requirements. The exact amount of this support will be determined at a later date. 

"I want to thank the Spanish government and the Valencia regional administration for their outstanding assistance in supporting the C-MAX program in Spain and, in particular, for helping to turn our hybrid vehicles plan into reality. Their support means that customers in Spain and around Europe will soon be driving the all-new C-MAX later in 2010, and from 2013 will be able to choose from Ford's first hybrid models to be launched in this region of the world," said Fleming.

Ford said it decided to build both full hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions of the five-seat Ford C-MAX to give customers greater choice to suit their specific driving and living environments. 

Full HEVs charge their electric batteries through the use of the small displacement internal combustion engine along with energy recapture through the regenerative brake system. PHEVs, on the other hand, can also recharge their electric batteries through an external source, such as a conventional electric power socket.  

"The extra benefit of being able to additionally recharge your batteries at home or other parking location means that PHEVs might better suit those customers who do the majority of their driving in city and other urban environments where electric battery power is the preferred powertrain alternative," said Fleming.