© Ford General | March 20, 2019
Ford expanding production of fully electrified, autonomous vehicles
Ford is expanding its production capacity for the company’s next-generation battery electric vehicles at a second North American plant.
According to a company release, as part of the company’s USD 11.1 billion investment in global electric vehicles, Ford is expanding its BEV manufacturing footprint to its Flat Rock assembly plant in Southeast Michigan. The plant will become the production home to vehicles from the company’s next-generation battery electric flexible architecture and will follow the all-electric performance SUV coming in 2020 from Ford’s Cuautitlan, Mexico, plant. In the release, Ford Global Operations President Joe Hinrichs said, “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. This is good news for the future of Southeast Michigan, delivering additional good-paying manufacturing jobs.” Ford is targeting to invest more than USD 850 million in the Flat Rock facility through 2023 and adding a second shift. The investment also includes funding to build the next-generation Mustang and is part of a USD 900 million investment in Ford’s operations in Southeastern Michigan. The company also announced it will complete Ford’s first autonomous vehicles at a new AV manufacturing center in Southeast Michigan, upfitting purpose-built, commercial-grade hybrid vehicles with self-driving technology and unique interiors. Production will begin in 2021 for deployment in commercial services for moving people and goods. “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,” Hinrichs said in the statement, adding, “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.” Ford also announced it is building its next-generation North American Transit Connect small commercial and passenger van in Mexico, starting in 2021. This increases U.S. and Canadian vehicle content consistent with the proposed USMCA trade agreement, which supports U.S. manufacturing jobs and boosts sourcing of components with North American suppliers, the company said in the release. It also helps the company improve the profitability of its North American Transit Connect lineup, which is part of Ford’s industry-leading lineup of commercial vehicles and vans.