Ford to invest $3.7B, add 6,200 jobs to boost production in Michigan, Ohio and Missouri

Jordyn Grzelewski
The Detroit News

Ford Motor Co. will invest $3.7 billion and add 6,200 jobs across plants in Michigan, Ohio and Missouri to expand production of both electric and internal combustion engine vehicles, the Dearborn automaker announced Thursday.

More:Michigan plans to pledge $135M to help Ford invest in Metro Detroit plants

The investment also will fund the establishment of a new packaging facility in Monroe that will support the company's customer service division.

And the automaker plans to convert 3,000 temporary employees to permanent full-time status ahead of schedule, and to spend $1 billion over five years on workplace upgrades at plants such as better lighting and on-site EV charging.

The automaker rolled out the news Thursday morning, with events planned at the Mackinac Policy Conference and at a plant in northeast Ohio.

Michigan is getting the biggest chunk of the investment: $2 billion and 3,200 jobs, bringing the automaker's total investment in the state since 2016 to $10 billion.

The Michigan jobs include 2,000 positions that will be spread across three assembly plants: the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Dearborn where the all-electric F-150 Lightning is built, Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne to produce the all-new Ranger pickup truck, and Flat Rock Assembly Plant to support production of an all-new global Mustang coupe. 

Michigan Assembly currently builds the Bronco and the current version of the Ranger. The all-new Ranger recently launched in some of Ford's international markets; both the all-new Ranger and the Ranger Raptor will be shipped from Michigan Assembly for customers in the U.S. Flat Rock currently assembles Mustangs.

Ford launched production of the F-150 Lightning in April. Citing high demand for the battery-electric version of America's most popular vehicle, the automaker previously announced plans to boost production capacity to 150,000 units annually by next year. This latest investment will support that plan.

The investment in Michigan also includes $35 million to establish a packaging facility in Monroe and create roughly 600 jobs there. Operations there, which are aimed at speeding up parts shipments to customers, are slated to begin in 2024.

"We have more than 3,000 dealers across the country. And it is quite a logistics operation to buy those parts and package those parts and get those parts to our dealers as quickly as possible, so that the customer care can happen as fast as possible," Kumar Galhotra, president of Ford Blue, Ford's legacy internal combustion engine business, told The Detroit News.

"We want to improve that speed and improve the cost of that entire ecosystem," he said. "And as a result of that study of how do we speed up that process and how do we do it more efficiently, it became clear that we needed a packaging facility, and we chose to put that packaging facility here in Michigan."

Meanwhile, Ford said it would spend $1.5 billion and add 1,800 jobs at its Ohio Assembly Plant in Avon Lake, Ohio, to assemble an all-new electric commercial vehicle starting mid-decade. Currently, that plant builds medium-duty trucks, Super Duty chassis cabs and E-Series vans and stripped chassis. The plant expansion is scheduled to start this year.

Ford officials declined to provide further details about the as-yet unidentified new commercial EV.

Another $100 million and 90 jobs will go to Ford's Lima Engine and Sharonville Transmission plants in Ohio.

And in Missouri, Ford will invest $95 million and add 1,100 jobs to add a third shift at its Kansas City Assembly Plant to boost production of the Transit commercial van and its all-electric counterpart, the E-Transit.

All of the positions included in the announcement are union jobs, Ford noted.

Under CEO Jim Farley, Ford is implementing a growth strategy, dubbed Ford+, centered on electrification, commercial vehicles and digital connectivity. The automaker last year launched a dedicated commercial vehicle business unit, Ford Pro, and earlier this year announced a major restructuring to separate its legacy internal combustion engine and EV businesses into distinct units: Ford Blue and Ford Model e, respectively.

Ford Blue is tasked with delivering a more profitable ICE business centered on Ford's most popular and iconic vehicles. 

The automaker is investing $50 billion in electrification through 2026 and eyeing annual production of more than 2 million EVs globally by then.

Some of that investment so far has been dedicated to bringing in-house production of key EV components. The automaker last year announced it was investing $11.4 billion with partner SK Innovation to build campuses in Tennessee and Kentucky that include three battery plants. 

As for further vertical integration, Galhotra said there is "more to come on that. We're looking at all kinds of components, especially for electric vehicles, to be in-house."

Twitter: @JGrzelewski