MADRID (Reuters) - U.S. car manufacturer Ford <F.N> announced on Friday it would invest more than 750 million euros ($885 million) in its Spanish plant in the eastern region of Valencia to produce the new model of its Kuga SUV.
The Valencia plant employs over 8,000 people and, in addition to the Kuga, makes the Mondeo, S-Max and Galaxy cars and two models of van - mostly for export. Kuga represents around half of the production of the Valencia plant.
Ford has invested around 3 billion euros in the installations over the past six years, making Valencia one of the two largest assembly operations in Ford's global manufacturing system, alongside the Chongqing factory in China.
"This significant investment underlines Ford's commitment to Spain as one of its most important manufacturing sites in Europe," the Detroit-based company said in a statement.
The investment in the Spanish plant continues a trend of auto production moving south or east in Europe, where wages tend to be lower.
Spain's car industry, including auto parts manufacturers, employs just under 300,000 people, according to official statistics. It accounts for around 7 percent of the country's economic output, according to the vehicle manufacturing association Anfac.
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($1 = 0.8475 euros)
(Reporting by Sonya Dowsett; Editing by Adrian Croft)