Ford has announced a US$350m spend at its Livonia Transmission Plant, adding a new transmission as part of a plan to fortify its core automotive business.  

The spending will support production of a new, advanced transmission for front wheel drive vehicles. It will share software, design elements and manufacturing processes with the 10-speed and other future transmissions.

Most applications will use a common microprocessor with more than 4 million lines of code controlling both engine and transmission.

The company said it would "create or retain" 800 hourly jobs to support production of the new transmission and expects to begin adding jobs late this year, with the majority coming next year and in 2019.

"We remain committed to American manufacturing and investing in our people and facilities," said Joe Hinrichs, president, The Americas. "Even as the industry's largest employer of hourly workers in the United States and biggest producer of American-made vehicles, we believe it is important to continue investing right here in our home market." 

This latest announcement supplements a $1.4bn spend and 500 created or retained hourly jobs announced for the plant in 2016 to support production of the new 10-speed transmission for the F-150 truck line.

Livonia employs 1,800 people building six- and 10-speed transmissions used in a number of vehicles including Mustang, F-150, Transit and Expedition.