Ford reshuffles investment plan in Michigan to spend $900M, create 900 jobs

By Benjamin Raven
MLive.com, Walker, Mich.

Ford says it is reshuffling a previously announced investment plan for Southeast Michigan to spend $900 million over the next four years in a move it projects to create 900 jobs.

The Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker reports that the Flat Rock Assembly Plant will see an $850 million investment by 2023 while adding a second shift. These new positions will focus on the making of the automaker’s first autonomous vehicle by 2021 while Ford also has about $50 million penned to create an autonomous manufacturing center in the region.

“Tied to the company’s $11.1 billion investment in global electric vehicles, Ford is expanding its BEV manufacturing footprint to its Flat Rock Assembly plant in southeast Michigan,” Ford writes in a Wednesday, March 20 news release.

“The plant will become the production home to vehicles from the company’s next-generation battery electric flexible architecture. These vehicles will follow the all-electric performance SUV coming in 2020 from Ford’s Cuautitlan, Mexico, plant.”

As for this autonomous vehicle manufacturing center, the automaker says that this will help create “purpose-built, commercial-grade hybrid vehicles with self-driving technology and unique interiors.” The Associated Press reports that this site is planned for the Detroit area in Southeast Michigan, but that its location is not yet known.

This site will focus on modifying and outfitting existing Ford vehicles with new hardware.

Joe Hinrichs, president of Ford’s global operations, told A.P. that it increased its investment after projections of EV sales made it clear that the automaker needed more space. Hinrichs said that they “had to change some of our plans,” and that this updated investment is a better use of its capital.

“As we ramp up AV production, this plan allows us to adjust our investment spending to accommodate the pace of growth of this exciting new technology,” he said in the Wednesday news release from the automaker.

“This new plan combines our core strength in mass manufacturing with the agility and leanness we’ve shown with our modification centers for specialty manufacturing.”

At the time of its original January 2017 announcement, Ford said that it would invest $4.5 billion in new electric vehicles, and $700 million to “transform and expand” the Flat Rock Assembly Plant.

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Posted by Tribune News Services

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