FRANKFURT -- Ford Motor Co. has begun work to expand its German styling center, which has the global lead on the design and development of the automaker's subcompact and compact vehicles.
The 11.6 million euro expansion of the center in Cologne-Merkenich is the largest single expansion of the center since it was first constructed in 1968, Ford said.
Ford's Fiesta subcompact and Focus compact models are designed at the center, which currently covers a total of 13,000 square meters and employs 250 workers.
The expansion will include a new 3,000-square-meter facility with room for 100 new work stations and will house a new 'powerwall' capable of projecting vehicle and concept designs in a 3-D and virtual environment.
The project also includes a redesign of the existing design studios, plus the installation of new milling machines that use computer-aided design to create precise clay models of new vehicle designs.
Expansion of the facility should be finished by the end of this year, Ford said.