Ford confirms $145M Cleveland Engine Plant investment – Detroit Free Press
Ford confirmed Thursday that it plans to invest $145 million to upgrade its Cleveland Engine Plant so it can build its next-generation, 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine and expand the lineup of cars and trucks that are offered with the popular engine.
Ford said the investment, which was promised as part of the automaker’s new four-year contract with the UAW last fall, will create or retain 150 jobs.
The Dearborn automaker’s investment is part of a $9-billion commitment Ford made during contract negotiations with the UAW to invest in its U.S. plants over the next four years, even as the automaker also continues to invest in Mexico and expand its presence in that country.
Ford’s EcoBoost engines, introduced in 2009, have proven to be reliable and popular among consumers even though they cost more than Ford’s regular gasoline engines. EcoBoost engines are designed to deliver the same capability as larger-displacement engines but with better fuel economy.
“This second-generation 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine is another great example of Ford continuously improving and innovating to give these hardworking customers the best engines and trucks we can,” Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of the Americas, said in a statement.
Ford employs about 1,500 people at its Cleveland Engine Plant, where it has produced more than 1 million EcoBoost engines.
The EcoBoost engine currently produced at the plant is an option in the 2016 Ford F-150, Explorer, Expedition, Transit, Flex and Taurus.
A special version of the next-generation EcoBoost engine will also power the F-150 Raptor, a specialized version of F-150 that is capable of ripping through off-road trails. Production of the new engine is expected to begin this summer.
“The team at Cleveland Engine is thrilled to begin building one of the most technologically advanced engines ever designed for the all-new F-150 Raptor,” UAW Vice President Jimmy Settles said in a statement.
Ford, which has 80,000 U.S. employees, plans to create or retain 8,500 hourly jobs in communities across Michigan, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, New York and Ohio over the next four years as it invests in its U.S. plants.
Despite that commitment, the UAW was unable to persuade the automaker to continue producing the Ford Focus at its Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne. Ford plans to begin producing that car outside of the U.S. in 2018. Ford has promised to invest $700 million at Michigan Assembly and add a new product in 2018, which is expected to be the Ford Ranger pickup.
Ford, along with nearly all other automakers, has been expanding rapidly in Mexico in recent years to capitalize on the country’s lower labor rates, efficient port and rail system and free trade agreements.
Ford also has said it will invest $2.5 billion to build new engines and transmissions in Mexico and eventually will hire an additional 3,800 workers as it builds two new plants.
Earlier this month, reports surfaced saying Ford’s vehicle production in Mexico will double by 2018 as it builds a new assembly plant and expands an existing assembly plant.
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