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Ford Will Make New Escape in Kentucky, Adding 1,800 Jobs

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On: Fri, Dec 10, 2010 at 4:23PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Ford Will Make New Escape in Kentucky, Adding 1,800 Jobs

It is certainly going to be a happy holiday for 1,800 auto assembly plant workers in Louisville, Kentucky. The Ford Motor Company delivered an early Christmas present with the announcement of a $600 million investment to renovate its Louisville plant. When the plant reopens in late 2011 it will be modified to incorporate the manufacturing of up to five other Ford models, in addition to the Ford Explorer SUV that is currently being built there.

When the assembly line is back to full operation there will be two shifts working with 2,900 employees in total. The additional workers will be brought in from other Ford plants, workers taken off their layoff and new hires. This deal wouldn’t have come through without the help of the UAW and the local Kentucky government.

“Working closely with the UAW and Kentucky officials, we have found a way to competitively deliver an important new vehicle that is good for our customers and supports our plan to deliver a well-balanced product portfolio of cars, trucks and utilities,” Mark Fields, Ford's president of The Americas, said in a statement.]

The ugraded plant will be able to produce five additional models including the re-designed Ford Focus compact car, a small Lincoln Crossover, and other Ford models, such as the Ford Escape and F-150 pickup trucks.

Since the so-called “auto-bailout” Ford’s sales have reached a higher level than any of its competitors, partly due to the fact that they didn’t participate in the bail-out. That doesn’t mean they aren’t getting help from the state government. Kentucky legislatures approved a plan that will provide Ford with close to $240 million in tax incentives to help the expansion and remodeling of the Louisville manufacturing plant.

A percentage of that remodel is going to include upgrades to the reprogrammable tooling facilities of the plant. This will allow the lines to switch back and forth between new models with greater efficiency. Jumping in on the exciting news, Jim Tetreault, Ford’s VP of North America manufacturing, said in a statement, “Manufacturing flexibility is a key to competitiveness, and we are continually exploring ways to raise the bar in this critical area of the business.”

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