As part of the new labor agreement between Ford and the United Auto Workers union, Ford will add production of the next-generation Fusion and next-generation Mustang to its plant in Flat Rock, Michigan. The plant’s future was previously in limbo after Mazda announced that production of the Mazda 6 at Flat Rock would cease.
According to the Detroit Free Press, Ford will invest $555 million in tooling and equipment at the Flat Rock plant. The AutoAlliance International, Inc. facility opened in 1987 as a joint venture between Ford and Mazda. It currently builds the Ford Mustang and Mazda 6, and employs 1763 people.
The Ford Fusion is currently built in Hermosillo, Mexico, but Ford expects continuing high demand for the car -- and especially the next-generation sedan -- will justify adding more production in Michigan. Through September 2011, sales of the Fusion are up 16.6 percent compared to the first nine months of 2010.
Even so, the Free Press reports that Flat Rock’s assembly system will be easily adaptable to produce any vehicle on a mid- or full-size car platform.
In addition to the Fusion and Mustang, the UAW says that its new agreement with Ford will bring the Transit commercial van to Ford’s plant in Kansas City, Missouri; the C-Max minivan to Wayne, Michigan; a medium-duty truck to Avon Lake, Ohio; and an “unnamed” vehicle and the 2012 Escape to Louisville, Kentucky. That reportedly adds up to a $16 billion investment by 2015, of which $6.3 billion will be spent to retool and upgrade assembly plants.
Sources: UAW, Detroit Free Press, Ford