FLAT ROCK, MICH. - Ford is investing $700 million to expand its Flat Rock assembly plant and hire 700 new workers to build self-driving and electric vehicles along with the Mustang and Lincoln Continental already produced at the Downriver site.
The automaker also said it is canceling plans for a new $1.6 billion plant in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, but confirmed that the next-generation of its Focus compact will be produced at its Hermosillo, Mexico factory.
Ford CEO Mark Fields said the decision to cancel the plant in Mexico was based in part on changing market conditions with sales of small cars declining as well as the pro-business climate the automaker expects under incoming President Donald Trump.
"This is a vote of confidence for president elect trump and some of the policies he may be pursuing," Fields at the plant today.
Ford was repeatedly under fire from Trump during last year's presidential campaign for its decision to move production of small cars to Mexico.
While the Focus will still be built at an existing plant in Mexico, Fields said the automaker will save $500 million as invests in its plant in Flat Rock where it will make two new electric vehicles.
Fields said Ford will produce a new, fully electric SUV with a 300 mile range that it will launch in 2020 and a fully-autonomous vehicle at the Flat Rock plant.
"Make no mistake about it,, Ford is a global automaker, but our home is right here in the United States," Fields said.
The plans for the two all-new vehicles are part of Ford's plans to introduce seven of its 13 new global electrified vehicles in the next five years, including hybrid versions of the iconic F-150 pickup and Mustang in the U.S., a plug-in hybrid Transit Custom van in Europe and a fully electric SUV with an expected range of at least 300 miles for customers globally.
"We expect a big change in the next decade on not only the growing affordability but also the consumer acceptance of electrified vehicles," Fields said.
The moves are part of a $4.5 billion investment in electrified vehicles by 2020, part of Ford's expansion to be an auto and a mobility company.
“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,” said Ford CEO Mark Fields. “Our investments and expanding lineup reflect our view that global offerings of electrified vehicles will exceed gasoline-powered vehicles within the next 15 years.”
In addition Field provided some detail about seven of 13 new electrified vehicles planned for introduction over the next five years. These include:
•An all-new fully-electric small SUV, coming by 2020, engineered to deliver at least 300 miles between full chargings. It will 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, starting in North America. The hybrid vehicle will debut in 2021 and also will be built at Flat Rock.
•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 will be built at Ford’s Dearborn Truck Plant.
•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
Detroit Free Press