Ford announces new initiatives
Ford has announced new manufacturing actions centred on improving the company’s operational fitness and building vehicles for customers around the world. It is investing US$ 900 million in its Kentucky Truck Plant for plant upgrades to build the new Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator, which begin arriving in dealerships this Autumn. Both full-size SUVs will be exported to more than 55 markets globally – including the Navigator to China.
The US$ 900 million investment secures 1,000 jobs for hourly workers at the Louisville plant. This is in addition to the US$ 1.3 billion investment and 2,000 jobs created at that plant in late 2015 to build the new Ford Super Duty. Kentucky Truck employs nearly 7,600 full-time hourly workers – and Ford has more U.S. hourly workers and builds more vehicles in the U.S. than any other automaker, it told ISMR.
Ford’s next-generation Ford Focus, it said, will be more spacious and packed with technology. Production begins in the second half of 2019, with models coming from the company’s existing Focus plants globally. Most new North American Focus models initially will come from China, with additional variants coming from Europe later.
Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of the Americas, at the 2017 North American International Auto Show
Production of the current North American Focus at the Michigan Assembly Plant continues through to mid-2018. Following that, the plant will be converted to produce the Ranger midsize pickup truck in late 2018 and the Bronco midsize SUV in 2020.
The new North America Focus production plan saves US$1 billion in investment costs versus the original plan – US$ 500 million on top of the US$ 500 million savings announced earlier this year by cancelling plans for a new manufacturing facility in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, and moving Focus production to Ford’s Hermosillo, Mexico, plant.
“Finding a more cost-effective way to deliver the next Focus programme in North America is a better plan, allowing us to redeploy the money we save into areas of growth for the company – especially sport utilities, commercial vehicles, performance vehicles as well as mobility, autonomous vehicles and electrified vehicles,” said Joe Hinrichs, Ford executive vice president and president, Global Operations.
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