Ford Motor Co. has announced that it will open up three Michigan plants that will produce the all-new Ford Ranger and Bronco. The total investment in these three facilities will be $1.2 billion.
$850 million will go to the Wayne Michigan Assembly plant that makes its trucks and SUVs while $150 million will go to its Romeo Engine Plant to boost its capacity. The Flat Rock Assembly plant will have a new data center worth $200 million. Its Flat Rock facility will produce electrified and autonomous vehicles with the help of a $700 million infusion.
The data center at the Rock Assembly plant will collect data on connected and autonomous cars. This will allow Ford to capitalize on the data by creating more applications and features to boost their revenue streams.
The investment at the Romeo plant will boost capacity for engine making such as for Ford Super Duty, and Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang.
A Ford spokeswoman said that the Wayne Michigan Assembly plant investment would secure 3,600 jobs. The Wayne Michigan Plant builds the Ford Focus. The reason for the massive $850 million investment is that U.S. consumers are purchasing bigger vehicles rather than small vehicles.
Ford figures show that trucks and SUVs comprise around 60% of Ford’s sales in 2016. Since big vehicles have high margins, Ford can produce them in the U.S. and still make a profit. Small cars, on the other hand, have lesser margins, and so Ford builds them in countries where labor is cheaper so they can still make a profit.
Ford is optimistic about its future and encouraged by Trump’s economic agenda. Joe Hinrichs, Ford President of the Americas, said, “It is a mixed bag here for what’s new. We think we are well-positioned…we are very excited about the future.”
According to Steve Arwood, CEO of Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the investments that Ford is making are huge. Arwood said, “That probably nets out to be the biggest day ever in Michigan. That is all good news. There’s not a discouraging word.”
Ford executives expect that the Trump administration will favor policies that benefit the automobile industry. Trump has recently announced that he will ask that the fuel efficiency standards be reviewed. Trump told auto workers earlier this month that his administration will not allow regulations to become a threat to auto jobs and factories.
Hinrichs said, “It reinforces how important manufacturing jobs are in America and as the leading producer of vehicles in the U.S., we think it is very consistent with the pro-growth initiatives that hopefully the White House and Congress will be able to bring forward to the economy.”
United Auto Workers (UAW) praised Ford Motor Co’s. investment plan. UAW said, “Thanks to collective bargaining, the hard-working men and women at each of these locations will now reap the full fruits of their labor. We look forward to celebrating more product investment and job growth at each of our UAW-represented facilities in the months and years to come.”