US: Ford confirms Transit van and further investment for Kansas City Plant
Ford has confirmed that Kansas City Assembly Plant workers will build its full-size Transit van – Europe’s best-selling commercial vehicle – when the new product joins its North American line-up in 2013.
The company says that it is investing US$1.1bn – US$700m more than was previously announced – in a new body shop, new tooling in the Final Assembly Area, an upgraded paint shop and an all-new integrated stamping plant, which will be located on an adjacent property in Liberty, Mo. A portion of the investment also will be used in the future to support next-generation F-150 pickup production at the plant.
“Our plans for transforming Kansas City Assembly and constructing a new integrated stamping plant to support Transit production demonstrate just how committed Ford is to our employees, the city of Liberty and the broader Claycomo community,” said Mark Fields, Ford’s president of The Americas.
“More importantly, this shows that Ford is truly committed to investing in the US and doing our part to support US manufacturing, which is critical to our country’s ability to compete.”
Ford says it is investing US$16bn in its US operations – including US$6.2bn in US plants – to design, engineer and produce more new and upgraded vehicles and components by 2015.
The company also is adding 12,000 hourly jobs at its US manufacturing facilities – including 1,600 in Kansas City.
The current SUV line at the Kansas City facility, which will be idled for re-tooling after the current Escape model is phased out in April, will re-open in 2013. During re-tooling, the plant will continue to build F-150 trucks.
The company also plans to increase F-150 production at the facility, which will build the trucks on two shifts instead of one beginning in May. This will bring approximately 800 additional employees to the Kansas City Assembly truck line, for a total of approximately 1,700 workers.
When this increase takes effect, Ford will build the F-150 on five shifts – two in Kansas City and three in Dearborn.
“Our ‘Built Ford Tough’ F-150 just keeps getting better and better, and this capacity increase at Kansas City will help us satisfy customers who don’t want to wait to own one,” Fields said. “Our new F-150 engine choices include the innovative EcoBoost with best-in-class power, performance, capability and fuel economy our truck customers truly want and value.”