Once a year toy cars destined for Christmas stockings replace full sized cars on the assembly line at one of Ford’s European manufacturing plants.

They are among the gifts that are collected and wrapped by employees before being sent to hospitals, orphanages and other good causes across Europe.

“Watching the toys come down the line is an amazing sight and the employees really get into the spirit of things by dressing up as Santa’s helpers. It’s important that we as a company give back to the wider community and this is a great way to make that happen,” said Linda Cash, vice president, Manufacturing, Ford of Europe.

Each year a different European plant plays secret Santa, with Ford’s facility in Craiova, Romania, where B-MAX and 1.0-litre EcoBoost engines are built, taking on the role this year.

This year, employees in the UK, at the Dagenham engine plant, have made or donated blankets for the annual Crisis at Christmas programme which assists homeless charities in London.

Employees at other Ford plants in Spain and Germany also support charities at Christmas.