Ford Motor Co. said Monday it will invest $129 million and add 300 jobs to its Louisville Assembly Plant in Kentucky as it ramps up production of the 2015 Lincoln MKC crossover.
The money will go toward facility upgrades that include tooling and a system for more detailed inspections during the building process. The additional 300 workers will bring the plant’s employee total to around 5,000.
The MKC — one of four new Lincoln vehicles expected by 2016 — went into production in May. Through July, 2,895 have been sold.
“Lincoln MKC is an important part of Lincoln, as it attracts a new luxury customer,” Daryl Sykes, Louisville Assembly’s plant manager said in a statement. “To have the opportunity to build an all-new vehicle — the first small utility ever from Lincoln — is very exciting for the hardworking men and women at Louisville Assembly Plant.”
Ford expects sales of small sport-utilities will grow 300 percent between now and 2018.
The MKC comes with a 2-liter EcoBoost engine that gets 240 horsepower. It has a 6-speed automatic transmission. Pricing starts at $33,100.
Lousiville Assembly was opened in 1955 and also makes the Ford Escape. In 2010, Ford invested $600 million there to allow for production of multiple vehicle models at the same time without requiring downtime for tooling changeover.
Jimmy Settles, UAW vice president, National Ford Department, said in a statement, “The 300 new jobs add to the plant’s 4,600 UAW team members — a fantastic feat enabled through the collective bargaining between the UAW and Ford to support U.S. manufacturing.”