In a press conference this morning, Ford Motor Co. announced it will forego building a $1.6 billion factory in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, opting instead to invest $700 million to build autonomous and electric vehicle at its Flat Rock Assembly Plant.
As part of the four-year investment, the plant, which builds the Ford Mustang and Lincoln Continental, will be expanded to accommodate the production of autonomous and electric vehicles. The expansion will create 700 direct new jobs, and include a new Manufacturing Innovation Center.
The automaker also announced the next-generation Ford Focus will be built at an existing plant in Hermosillo, Mexico. As a result, two yet-to-be-announced vehicles will be built at Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, where the Focus is manufactured today. The move will save approximately 3,500 jobs.
“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,” says Mark Fields, Ford president and CEO. “Our investments and expanding lineup reflect our view that global offerings of electrified vehicles will exceed gasoline-powered vehicles within the next 15 years.”
Governor Rick Snyder applauded Ford’s decision to invest in the Flat Rock facility, projecting that Michigan will become a key player in automotive innovation in the coming years.
“We are seeing the drive toward the next chapter of the state’s legendary automotive history shift into a higher gear with Ford’s announcement,” Snyder says. “In the next decade, Michigan will lead the world in reimagining transportation with the acceleration of next generation advanced technologies. We are excited that Ford has chosen Michigan as its innovative home for their fully electric and autonomous hybrid vehicles.”
Ford also is piloting wireless technology on its electric vehicles offered in the U.S. and Europe to make recharging as easy as pulling into a parking spot so drivers never forget to recharge. Wireless recharging extends electric-only range for short distance commuters, even during quick stops. The company’s app, called FordPass, also can help consumers reserve charging times.