June/July 2001: Ford has announced plans to invest more than $12 million (14.1 million Euros) at its Lommel Proving Ground in Belgium.
The manufacturer will build a special vehicle dynamics area (VDA) and new high-speed handling course at Lommel which already has 70km of test roads that, it says, allow it to carry out extensive testing under 'real world conditions'.
'Such testing is crucial to develop vehicles that offer the highest levels of active safety and yet are fun to drive,' Ford said.
Martin Leach, Ford of Europe vice-president for product development, said: 'Ford models, like the Fiesta, Focus and Mondeo, are consistently praised for having excellent driving quality.
The extended facilities at Lommel will not only help us to maintain the pace of new model launches, it will also guarantee the highest dynamic quality.'
The Lommel proving ground covers 322 hectares and its 70km of roads consist of test routes ranging from smooth high-speed surfaces to the roughest roads anyway, said Ford.