President Donald Trump applauded Ford’s move on Tuesday with a tweet hours prior to Ford making the announcement. He has pressured automakers to make more investment in the U.S. and create more jobs.
However, these investments had been worked on far before Trump entered office. Ford announced its plans to upgrade some plants in Michigan during November of 2015 which was part of its new contractual agreement with the United Auto Workers union.
Joe Hinrichs the President of Ford Americas said the automaker told the White House of the investments on Tuesday. Hinrichs added that it was not unusual for the automaker to reach out to both national and state political leaders prior to making an announcement.
Tuesday’s announcement, said Hinrichs, was timed with a meeting at the state government where officials gave approval to over $31 million worth of grants and tax exemptions of 15 years for Ford.
Ford is to spend over $850 million to upgrade its assembly plant in 2018 to build the midsize pickup Ford Ranger beginning in 2018, as well as the Bronco beginning in 2020.
The plant is located in suburban Detroit and currently is making small cars that will move to a Mexico plant. Trump criticized Ford as well as other automakers about plans to move the production of small cars to Mexico.
Amidst a drop in sales of the smaller vehicle, Ford scrapped its plans to build a new plant south of the border, but will continue building small cars at the facility in Mexico it already has.
The plant, said Hinrichs, will operate two shifts unless the demand calls for them to add a third shift. The plant at one time operated three shifts, but a shift was cut in 2015 and 673 workers lost their jobs, because of slowing sales for small cars.
Ford is planning to spend over $150 million to upgrade a plant outside Detroit known as Romeo Engine Plant. The automakers said it would create 130 permanent jobs. The plant makes components for new engines.
Ford will also spend $200 million for a data center to store information that is collected from connected and self-driving vehicles.
The new data center is to be located at a Flat Rock, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit, assembly plant.
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