Ford adds second North American site to build battery electrics; Michigan workers to make its first autonomous vehicles
Ford announced it is expanding its production capacity for the company’s next-generation battery electric vehicles at a second North American plant.
Tied to the company’s $11.1 billion investment in global electric vehicles, Ford is expanding its BEV manufacturing footprint to its Flat Rock Assembly plant in southeast Michigan. The plant will become the production home to vehicles from the company’s next-generation battery electric flexible architecture. These vehicles will follow the all-electric performance SUV coming in 2020 from Ford’s Cuautitlan, Mexico, plant.
“We’ve taken a fresh look at the growth rates of electrified vehicles and know we need to protect additional production capacity given our accelerated plans for fully electric vehicles,” said Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president, Global Operations.
Through this new plan, Ford is targeting to invest more than $850 million in the Flat Rock Assembly Plant through 2023, adding a second shift. The plant investment also includes funding to build the next-generation Mustang and is part of a $900 million investment in Ford’s operations in southeastern Michigan.
The company also announced it will complete Ford’s first autonomous vehicles at a new AV manufacturing center in southeast Michigan, upfitting purpose-built, commercial-grade hybrid vehicles with self-driving technology and unique interiors. Production of Ford’s first autonomous vehicles will begin in 2021 for deployment in commercial services to move people and goods.
“As we ramp up AV production, this plan allows us to adjust our investment spending to accommodate the pace of growth of this exciting new technology,” Hinrichs said. “This new plan combines our core strength in mass manufacturing with the agility and leanness we’ve shown with our modification centers for specialty manufacturing.”