On Tuesday Mark Fields, Ford Motor Company president and CEO, announced plans for the automaker to expand its Flat Rock Assembly Plant in Michigan.
The expansion includes a $700 million investment over the next four years and the creation of 700 new jobs. Field said the expansion will help the company “build high-tech autonomous and electric vehicles” alongside production of the Mustang and Lincoln Continental. Among the planned autonomous vehicles is a “small utility vehicle with extended battery range.”
“As more and more consumers around the world become interested in electrified vehicles, Ford is committed to being a leader in providing consumers with a broad range of electrified vehicles, services and solutions that make people’s lives better,” Fields said, in a statement. ““Our investments and expanding lineup reflect our view that global offerings of electrified vehicles will exceed gasoline-powered vehicles within the next 15 years.”
It means Ford will not build a new plant in Mexico as previously announced. The company planned a new plant in San Luis Potosi, Mexico — the same region where a new BMW plant is currently under construction. The Ford Focus will now be built at the company’s existing plant in Hermosillo, Mexico and production of two new products will shift to the Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne Michigan. The company said that move will save nearly 3,500 jobs in the U.S.
“I am thrilled that we have been able to secure additional UAW-Ford jobs for American workers,” said Jimmy Settles, UAW vice president, National Ford Department, in a statement. “The men and women of Flat Rock Assembly have shown a great commitment to manufacturing quality products, and we look forward to their continued success with a new generation of high-tech vehicles.”
Ford officials said they plan to test new EV technology in Europe this year with the Transit Custom plug-in hybrid. The company is also testing a fleet of 20 Transit Connect hybrid taxi and van prototypes in New York and other U.S. cities.
Here are other electrified vehicle projects Ford announced today:
- An all-new fully electric small SUV, coming by 2020, engineered to deliver an estimated range of at least 300 miles, to be built at the Flat Rock plant and sold in North America, Europe and Asia
- A high-volume autonomous vehicle designed for commercial ride hailing or ride sharing, starting in North America. The hybrid vehicle will debut in 2021 and will be built at the Flat Rock plant
- A hybrid version of the best-selling F-150 pickup available by 2020 and sold in North America and the Middle East. The F-150 Hybrid, built at Ford’s Dearborn Truck Plant, will offer powerful towing and payload capacity and operate as a mobile generator
- A hybrid version of the iconic Mustang that will deliver V8 power and even more low-end torque. The Mustang Hybrid, built at the Flat Rock Plant, debuts in 2020 and will be available in the North America to start
- A Transit Custom plug-in hybrid available in 2019 in Europe engineered to help reduce operating costs in even the most congested streets
- Two new, pursuit-rated hybrid police vehicles. One of the two new hybrid police vehicles will be built in Chicago, and both will be upfitted with their police gear at Ford’s dedicated police vehicle modification center in Chicago