Ford invests $1.6B combined at Livonia and Ohio plants

Michael Martinez
The Detroit News

Ford Motor Co. said Tuesday it’s investing a combined $1.6 billion and creating or retaining 650 jobs at its Livonia Transmission and Ohio Assembly plants.

The Dearborn automaker said it will invest $1.4 billion and create or retain 500 jobs at its Livonia Transmission Plant for the development of a new 10-speed transmission that will debut on the 2017 F-150 Raptor. Ford will also invest $200 million and create or retain 150 jobs at Ohio Assembly Plant to build Super Duty chassis cabs for the F-350, F-450 and F-550 medium-duty trucks.

“The vast majority of our investments continue to be in our home in the United States,” Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s President of the Americas, said in an interview. Hinrichs wouldn’t say how many new jobs will be created at the plants, but said the majority will be workers who transfer from other locations.

The automaker has promised 8,500 hourly jobs in the U.S. during the next four years as part of the most recent contract with the United Auto Workers union. It will invest $9 billion in this country over that same period.

As part of the contract, Ford promised to invest $1.8 billion in Livonia and add three new transmissions. It also promised to invest $250 million at Ohio Assembly.

The Ohio investment comes four months after Ford said it would add capacity there to make Super Duty chassis cabs, which are also made at Kentucky Truck Plant. Hinrichs declined to give an estimate of how many chassis cabs would be produced there.

Ford developed the new 10-speed transmission, along with a new 9-speed transmission, jointly with General Motors Co. In addition to the Raptor, Hinrichs said other F-150 models will also get the 10-speed. The first GM car to get the 10-speed transmission will be the 2017 Camaro ZL1.

The automaker received an incentive from the state of Michigan worth $27.3 million over 15 years for the Livonia investment. The Michigan Economic Development Corp. said the automaker considered other facilities outside Michigan for the project.

“For more than 60 years, Ford and the Livonia Transmission Plant have been a dynamic force in Livonia’s economy, especially along Plymouth Road,” Livonia Mayor Dennis Wright said in a statement. “As Livonia’s largest employer, Ford has always been a strong partner with the City and we are excited that the Livonia plant was able secure this investment and 500 new jobs. As the plant grows, our local economy will continue to thrive.”

There are approximately 1,550 employees at Livonia Transmission, including 1,356 hourly and 197 salaried workers. Ohio Assembly employs 1,486 hourly and 171 salaried workers.

Jimmy Settles, UAW vice president of the National Ford Department, said in a statement that he’s “thrilled” the most recent contract secured these investments.

“The men and women of both Livonia Transmission and Ohio Assembly have shown a great commitment to manufacturing quality products, and we look forward to their continued success,” he said.

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