Ford’s smallest petrol engine, the 1.0 litre, turbocharged, direct injection three-cylinder EcoBoost has been officially launched – Ford president and CEO Alan Mulally did the honours yesterday.

Developed by Ford’s UK engineers, the engine will debut in Europe in early 2012, first on the new Focus, before making its way into global markets. In Europe, it will also feature in the C-MAX and Grand C-MAX as well as the upcoming B-MAX, which begins production in the middle of next year.

Two output versions of the engine will be available, as we reported in July, with a slight variance in the output numbers for the production units – there’s the 125 PS and 170 Nm version, which goes into the Focus, as well as a 100 PS variant.

Ford has developed a special high-tech line at the Cologne Engine Plant to build the engine, and the plant is set to build up to 350,000 units a year of the new powertrain. European production capacity is expected to increase to up to 700,000 units per year when the company’s new engine plant in Craiova, Romania, opens in early 2012.

The company says that in the years ahead, it anticipates production to expand outside of Europe to deliver a global capacity of up to 1.3 million 1.0 litre EcoBoost engines per year. Closer to home, it seems probable that the engine will eventually make its way into the Fiesta, though exactly when remains to be seen.