News : Ford builds 40 million engines at Dagenham

Ford Dagenham has passed the milestone of 40 million engines – enough to stretch 20,000 miles, or four fifths of the way around the globe, when placed end to end. The factory has been engineering and manufacturing engines since 1931, and now specialises in diesel engines for Ford’s small, medium, and large car ranges, as well as featuring prominently in Ford’s commercial vehicles.  Over 50 per cent of global Ford diesel engine demand is supplied by Dagenham.

Dagenham-built engines have powered many famous Ford vehicles including the Ford Escort, Cortina, Capri, Granada, and Transit models. Today engines from Ford’s largest UK plant power the best-selling vehicles in Britain: the Ford Fiesta, Ford Focus and Ford Transit.

Total production of petrol engines from Ford Bridgend in Wales and diesel engines from Ford Dagenham is sufficient to power one-in-three of Ford vehicles produced globally.  These two plants have a total combined UK production capacity of two million engines, of which over 85 per cent are exported.

Ford Dagenham is increasing the number of engines and parts shipped to Argentina, Brazil, China, France, India, Italy, Japan, North America, South Africa, Taiwan, Thailand and The Philippines – further boosting Dagenham’s production of engines.

In 2003 an additional plant was opened at Ford Dagenham – the wind-powered Dagenham Diesel Centre – following an investment of £325m.  The plant supports over 300 highly skilled design and engineering roles in addition to hundreds of specialised manufacturing positions.  Dagenham’s low-CO2 facility produces over 2500 engines per day and 600,000 per year, accounting for more than 50 per cent of the total annual Dagenham engine production of 1,000,000 engines.

Joe Greenwell, Ford Britain chairman, said: ‘Dagenham producing 40 million engines is a significant milestone for Ford’s biggest UK site.  Ford Dagenham now produces Ford’s most fuel-efficient engine in the 1.6-litre TDCi unit and exports to 12 countries around the world as part of our global ‘One Ford’ strategy.  This site is helping to power the UK’s sustainable economic recovery.’

Keith Adams


  1. The ‘Wind Powered Dagenham Diesel Centre’ sounds almost like a contradiction in terms. I happen to be a fan of the old tech Ford 1.8 diesel, as found under the bonnet of a Mk3 Fiesta Classic I once owned, which went far quicker than any non-turboed diesel had any right to- and handled well too.

    Good to see British factories producing international output- shame it isn’t complete vehicles anymore, but hey, that’s the way things are these days.

  2. Well good news for Dagenham, who make some of the best quality diesel engines in the world. I am proud my old man was part of the story, and having had a Focus 1.8 TDCI a few years back, I have great memories. Shame I can’t afford to buy a Jag XF V6 diesel so I can help them build more.

  3. Some great comparative statistics here. I didn’t realise that Ford still manufactured diesel engines at Dagenham… I thought all engines were made at Bridgend.

    So, there’s still much to be proud of in “Ford of Britain” despite not carrying out full car production on these shores. Thanks for the article Keith!

  4. @4 i wonder if ford now regret ceasing car production,given the fact that we now see a major endorsement by other manufactorers in increasing investment in the UK?

  5. @4 – Ford never forgave Dagenham from precipitating equal pay for women (see the excellent film “Made in Dagenham”. When they shut down vehicle production, it was because trade barriers had come down across Europe and they could economically import from elsewhere. I think the promise of being a centre for diesel production was seen by Ford as a way of running down the site before closing it – they did not think diesel cars would become so popular across the globe.

  6. @6 Ford closed Dagenham as it had overproduction in Europe at the time, and it was cheaper to close a British plant than it was at the time to close a German or Spanish plant. When Ford closed Dagenham from Car production, a large amount of work which had been outsourced was transferred to Dagenham’s old Body Shop, which is also still operational and producing many subframes for Ford cars in Europe and America, although it has had a downturn as TATA have transferred work for JLR to outsourcing operations as it was cheaper. The engine plant was turned over to produce Diesel engines soley when the rst of the site was closed, as it new it needed to expand it’s operations, with the advent of the Lion V6, and built a huge new clean room to produce the new engine.

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