With former-partner Mazda totally out of the picture, Ford announced yesterday that it will rename the AutoAlliance International factory in Flat Rock, Michigan, with the plant henceforth known as Flat Rock Assembly. The company also plans to kick off production of its 2013 Ford Fusion sedan at the factory.
The former AutoAlliance facility was shared between Mazda and Ford, but the Japanese automaker recently pulled out of the factory and shifted production of the Mazda 6 to Japan. That meant Ford could assume more of the plant space, providing extra capacity to build the new Fusion. The 2013 Fusion also is also being built in Hermosillo, Mexico.
To build the 2013 Ford Fusion, the automaker is adding 1200 new jobs and investing $555 million in Flat Rock Assembly. The monetary investment includes opening a new flexible body shop that can build multiple different vehicle types, and adopting a more environmentally friendly paint process. In total, Ford plans to employ 2900 people at the facility.
There will be three traditional gasoline powertrains for the 2013 Ford Fusion, as well as a hybrid and plug-in hybrid model. It's been rumored that the 2013 Ford Fusion will return as much as 25/37 mpg (city/highway) with its 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine, while the Fusion hybrid could return 47/47 mpg. However, Ford has yet to officially confirm these numbers.
Ford actually operated a casting center at Flat Rock, Michigan, from 1972 to 1981, but after it was closed the plant sat idle for several years. Mazda purchased, revamped, and re-opened the 2.9 million square-foot factory in 1987 to build the MX-6. Ford bought a 50-percent share in the facility in 1992, and it was renamed AutoAlliance International. Ford subsequently built the Ford Probe and Mercury Cougar there, and from 2005 Flat Rock served as the primary assembly location for the Ford Mustang. Going forward, Flat Rock Assembly will continue to build the Ford Mustang alongside the newly added Fusion.