June 29, 2022

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Ford plans to add 6,200 jobs in Ohio, Michigan and Missouri

Ford plans to add 6,200 jobs in Ohio, Michigan and Missouri

Avon Lake, Ohio – Ford will add 6,200 jobs at factories in Michigan, Missouri and Ohio as it prepares to build more electric cars and roll out two redesigned combustion engine models.

The company says it will invest $3.7 billion in the three states between now and 2026. It will also convert about 3,000 temporary workers into a full-time position with increased salaries and benefits.

A plant in Avon Lake, Ohio, near Cleveland, will be expanded so it can build a new unidentified electric commercial vehicle, with 1,800 new jobs. Ninety more jobs will be added in Lima and Sharonville, Ohio.

A plant in Clacomo, Missouri, near Kansas City, that makes large electric- and combustion-engine transit trucks, will get a third shift of 1,100 workers to handle the surging demand.

In Michigan, Ford Motor Company plans to add 2,000 jobs at three assembly plants and 1,200 more at other facilities.

A factory in the Detroit suburb of Wayne that now builds a mid-size Ranger pickup will see investment and jobs to make a new Ranger. A plant in Flat Rock, south of Detroit, will make a new version of the Mustang muscle car. Ford’s Center for Electric Vehicles in Dearborn will also see investment and jobs so it can build more F-150 Lightning electric pickup trucks to meet unexpectedly high demand. The company will also add 600 jobs at a new parts packaging facility in Monroe, Michigan, and another 600 jobs at several Michigan component plants.

It’s part of Ford’s plan to be able to manufacture two million electric cars a year globally by 2026.

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EV investment is needed in part because Ford underestimated demand for EVs, said Kumar Galhotra, president of Ford Blue, the company’s division that makes internal combustion vehicles.

As soon as Ford opened reservations for the electric F-150, he said, it began planning to expand the Dearborn plant that makes it. “The bookings were way above the (production) capacity we put in,” Galhotra said. “This is the first time in my career that we are expanding the factory before the factory is built.”

Ford stopped making reservations for the F-150 Lightning at 200,000 and is now converting reservations to orders. About two-thirds of those contacted so far are making the transfer, but the company said it did not have a specific number. In addition, this year’s Mustang Mach-E SUV and E-Transit are on sale, Galhotra said.

Ford is finding itself, like other automakers, adding workers to build internal combustion cars and electric vehicles as the industry transitions to battery power, said Kristin Dzeczyk, a policy adviser to the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago who tracks the industry.

Although studies show that automakers will need fewer workers to build electric cars because there are fewer moving parts, that doesn’t necessarily mean that many layoffs are on the road, Dziczek said. Automakers produce many of their electric auto parts such as axles and electric motors in North America to avoid supply chain disruptions associated with the pandemic abroad, creating new jobs. Plus there will be workers’ retirement over the next decade during the transition period, Dzeczyk said.

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“There are a lot of moving pieces,” she said. “It’s hard to say what the staffing level should be.”

Dzechik said automakers are converting temporary workers to a full-time position with higher wages to attract entry-level workers during the recent labor shortage.

Ford will not provide details of the commercial electric vehicle that will be built at the Ohio assembly plant by the middle of the decade. The factory has been on the verge of closing for most of its life but has managed to survive. Galhotra says she now has a bright future.

News of the expansion couldn’t have come so soon for Cody Newsome, a skilled lay-off apprentice at the plant, who now makes big trucks and vans.

He hopes the company will bring him back to work as they build more space and add workers. “This is really huge for us because this is a long-term investment,” said Newsom, 28, a third-generation worker at Ford. “This is no small project. So the job security is huge.”

We’ve been waiting for this day for a long time,” said Jason Williams, a union bargaining representative at the factory. “We are trying to secure the future for our children, our families, and the families of the community.”

Ohio is providing $200 million in incentives to Ford, while Michigan is contributing about $150 million. Although there will be a small capital investment in Missouri, there are no incentives for this project.

Ford said it has already begun converting temporary workers to full-time, and has begun hiring new workers.

The announcement came a year before contract talks with the United Auto Workers union began. Advertisements for new products and jobs are usually part of the negotiations.

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Ford’s decision to build three battery plants and a new assembly plant in Kentucky and Tennessee last year raised questions about the company’s manufacturing commitment to its condition and region.

Michigan politicians worked hard to lure General Motors’ assembly and battery plants in January after losing Ford plants in the southern states.

Ford is likely to build a fourth battery plant in North America in the Great Lakes region in a joint venture with SK Innovation of Korea, but Galhotra said he isn’t ready to make any announcements yet.

At the pace at which Ford is moving with electric vehicles, more production will be needed, Galhotra said, pointing to the Michigan site where the electric F-150 and the commercial electric vehicle to be built in Ohio are being built. “We will have more announcements to come,” he said.

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Krecher reported from Detroit.