Ford to move self-driving, EV teams to Corktown

The Detroit News

Corktown will be the new home for Ford Motor Co.’s business teams for its self-driving and electric vehicle operations.

The historic building known as the Factory, at 1907 Michigan Ave. at the intersection of Rosa Parks Boulevard, will house around 225 people from Ford’s AV and EV business teams, according to Said Deep, Ford global markets spokesman. It will be the first facility operated by Ford within Detroit’s city limits in several years.

The Corktown location will open early next year, allowing autonomous vehicle and electric vehicle teams to immerse themselves in the mobility challenges and solutions in an urban setting, the company said. The Factory is located on the prime strip of the hip neighborhood across from the former Tiger Stadium.

“We’re excited to choose this inspirational location in one of Detroit’s resurgent neighborhoods to accelerate our work on electric and autonomous vehicles,” Jim Hackett, Ford president and CEO, said in a statement. “This move and our exciting Dearborn campus transformation are important steps as we move toward our aspiration to become the world’s most trusted mobility company – designing smart vehicles for a smart world.”

The company described the move as more than a relocation, calling it a strategic decision aligned with a mission improving transportation, especially in cities with congestion, pollution, accidents and other transportation issues.

Ford announced last week that it will invest an additional $200 million in its Flat Rock Assembly to expand its capacity as a center for building self-driving cars. That’s in addition to the $700 million the company said in January it would invest. The company said it will add 250 more jobs above the 700 that had been promised earlier.

The 45,000-square-foot building also has been home to the Chicago Hosiery and Detroit-Alaska Knitting Mills factories. Most recently, it’s been headquarters for Buhl Sport Detroit and Brothers Tuning Detroit. Both businesses will remain there.