Ford Motor Co. said on Dec. 9 that it will upgrade its plant in Louisville, Kentucky. It's the company's highest-volume plant in the world.
Ford said it would transform the plant into a state-of-the-art facility that will start building the next-generation Escape sport utility vehicle (SUV) late next year. The Escape is one of the nation's best-selling small SUVs, according to auto industry research firm Edmunds.
"The plant is the third North American body-on-frame truck plant that Ford is re-tooling to enable production of fuel-efficient products from its global vehicle platforms," the company said.
Ford said its Louisville Assembly Plant, which has been building the Ford Explorer SUV since 1989, will close during the upgrade and its production shifted to Chicago. When the plant reopens in late 2011, it will operate on two production shifts, instead of the current one, building the Escape.
The accelerated production will require an additional 1,800 jobs from the plant's current staffing levels, the firm said, adding that the extra jobs will be filled through a combination of existing Ford workers and new hires.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010