Ford plans to invest an additional $350 million in Michigan plants

Ford Motor Co. will add $350 million in new investments at two Michigan assembly plants on top of previously pledged spending.

The automaker said Tuesday it will invest $200 million in its Flat Rock Assembly Plant for an advanced data center. It will also spend $150 million at its Michigan Assembly Plant in addition to what was pledged two years ago as part of the automaker’s contract with the UAW.

The latest planned outlay at Flat Rock follows a $700 million spending plan announced by CEO Mark Fields in January. Both of this year’s announcements at Flat Rock — which builds the Ford Mustang and Lincoln Continental — are separate from a $400 million pledge for the factory that was part of the 2015 UAW deal.

That UAW accord also included a Ford promise to invest $700 million in Michigan Assembly to re-tool the plant to build the Ranger and Bronco later this decade. On Tuesday, Ford said that changeover would require more spending.

"Back in 2015, we hadn’t done a full-blown plan on how to convert the plant," Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of the Americas, said in an interview. "Now that we’re in the implementation phase, it’s been a little more than we originally thought."

He called the initial $700 million for Michigan Assembly estimate "a little conservative" and said the added cost was not a surprise.

The automaker also reaffirmed a $150 million investment in its Romeo Engine plant. That spending was also pledged in 2015 when Ford signed a four-year pact with the union. Ford’s investment will result in 130 created or retained jobs at Romeo Engine. Hinrichs said the number of new jobs will be "incremental."

In total, today’s announcement brings spending across the three plants to $1.2 billion.

Hinrichs said Ford’s government affairs team informed the White House of its plans early today.

In response, President Donald Trump tweeted at 6:36 a.m.: "Big announcement by Ford today. Major investment to be made in three Michigan plants. Car companies coming back to U.S. JOBS! JOBS! JOBS!"

Hinrichs said today’s news wasn’t related to the "very, very big, very important" auto industry announcement Trump teased on his March 15 visit to the American Center for Mobility in suburban Detroit.

"We had not had any discussions with the administration or given them a heads-up," Hinrichs said. "We don’t believe this is what he was talking about." More at Autonews

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