Ford Will Split Electric Vehicle Manufacturing Between Mexico and United States

Andrew Cummings
March 22, 2019

Under the latest plans, the Flat Rock Assembly Plant south of Detroit will become a production hub for Ford's electric cars, though the site will also continue to build Mustangs-including a seventh-generation Mustang expected in 2021.

Ford Motor Co. is shifting its previously announced investments in its MI plants that will produce the next-generation of electric cars and autonomous driving vehicles, ultimately driving what the carmaker expects will be hundreds of new jobs. Ford already was planning an all-electric sport utility vehicle in 2020 that will be built at its Cuautitlan, Mexico, plant. At the time, Ford said it would make a big investment in Flat Rock to build autonomous vehicles and a long-range battery electric crossover.

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.

Much of that money will go toward expanding Flat Rock Assembly Plant, where the company plans to add 900 jobs.

"We've taken a fresh look at the growth rates of electrified vehicles and know we need to protect additional production capacity given our accelerated plans for fully electric vehicles", said President Joe Hinrichs. "This is good news for the future of southeast MI, delivering more good-paying manufacturing jobs".

"Ford's establishment of an autonomous vehicle manufacturing center puts southeast MI at the center of the future of mobility", Dingell said.

The remaining $50 million will also be used to build Ford's first plant for self-driving vehicles, where production will begin in 2021 - putting the carmaker behind rivals like General Motors in the rush to develop autonomous driving technology.

"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".

"Especially following January's announcement to cut a shift at Flat Rock Assembly, the news that this plant will be the primary center for battery electric vehicle production in the country is a huge step in the right direction", Camilleri said.

As part of the moves, Ford said production of the next-generation Transit Connect van for North America would shift to Mexico from Valencia, Spain.

Ford said it expects more electric vehicle sales in the coming years largely because millennials, the fastest-growing segment of the US population, are more open to buying them.

MI auto workers will not build Ford's all-electric SUV as former CEO Mark Fields promised in 2017. "Working together with our employees, union partners and government officials around the world, we are continuing to unlock new solutions to deliver world-class vehicles people want and value even more efficiently".

Ford has outlined plans to expand its manufacturing operations in preparation for EVs and autonomous vehicles. The company also sees higher gasoline prices and stronger emissions regulations in the future as well as more electric vehicle charging stations.

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