Ford Motor Co. is shifting more factory employees to meet rising SUV demand, the automaker said Thursday.

Ford will cut 230 jobs at its Van Dyke Transmission Plant in Sterling Heights, and offer those employees positions at other Ford plants, Ford spokeswoman Kelli Felker said in a statement. The moves will happen in the first quarter of 2019.

Van Dyke Transmission currently has about 1,500 hourly workers making automatic transmissions for Ford SUVs and vans.

Last month, Ford announced plans to move 500 hourly employees from its Flat Rock Assembly Plant where it builds cars; they will be relocated to its Livonia plant to build transmissions for in-demand trucks and SUVs. Ford said the Flat Rock plant, where it builds the Ford Mustang and Lincoln Continental sedan, will go down to a one-shift schedule in the spring. That will displace 650 full-time hourly employees.

The automaker also will shift 500 people to its Kentucky Truck Plant to build full-size SUVs and trucks.

The news comes just more than two weeks after crosstown rival General Motors Co. announced it would idle three plants that make sedans, a transmission plant in Warren and one of two assembly plants in Oshawa, Ontario, as it adjusts its lineup. The automaker also plans to cut 8,000 salaried workers in the new year.

Ford is considering white-collar job cuts globally.

Twitter: @Ian_Thibodeau

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