Ford Motor Co. continued its doubling down on electric vehicles on June 2, committing to massive plant renovations in Ohio, Michigan and Missouri, all focused on bringing more commercial EVs to market.
Long the dominant automaker in U.S. vans and pickups, the $3.7 billion in plant expansions will result in more capacity for the F-150 Lightning electric pickup, E-Transit commercial van and an as-yet-unnamed electric commercial vehicle. The country’s oldest automaker isn’t alone in targeting the commercial space with EVs. General Motors launched its BrightDrop commercial EV subsidiary last year which makes commercial vans and delivery trucks. Rivian, an EV startup that Ford invested in, is making electric vans for Amazon and consumer pickups. And, major truck producers such as Volvo and Navistar continue to launch new EV models.
“Ford is America’s No. 1 employer of hourly autoworkers, and this investment only deepens our commitment to building great new vehicles – from an all-new Mustang to new EVs – right here in the U.S. in partnership with the UAW,” said Bill Ford, executive chair of Ford. “I am proud that we are investing in the Midwest and taking real action to provide better benefits and working conditions for our workers on the plant floor.”
Ford’s investments include:
- Michigan: $2 billion investment and 3,200 union jobs including the creation of nearly 2,000 jobs throughout three assembly plants in Michigan to increase production of the all-new F-150 Lightning electric truck to 150,000 per year at Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Dearborn, produce an all-new Ranger pickup at Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne and an all-new Mustang coupe at Flat Rock Assembly Plant. The investment also includes $35 million to build an all-new Ford Customer Service Division packaging facility in Monroe that will create more than 600 union jobs, with operations expected to begin in 2024 to help accelerate parts shipments for Ford customers
- Ohio: $1.5 billion investment and 1,800 union jobs at Ohio Assembly Plant to assemble an all-new EV commercial vehicle starting mid-decade, along with an additional 90 jobs and $100 million investment between Lima Engine and Sharonville Transmission plants
- Missouri: $95 million investment and 1,100 union jobs for a third shift at Kansas City Assembly Plant to increase production of the Transit, America’s best-selling commercial van, and the all-new E-Transit electric van
Ford’s investments, including the new product in Ohio, meet some conditions set forth in its contract with the United Auto Workers. The company and the UAW begin negotiations next year on a new four-year deal. Ford’s investment announcement also said it would convert 3,000 junior-level UAW members to permanent, full-time status, meaning they’ll get pay increases and more generous benefits.
“This announcement is a testament to UAW members who contribute their skill, experience, and knowledge to the success of Ford Motor Company,” UAW President Ray Curry said. “We are always advocating to employers and legislators that union jobs are worth the investment. Ford stepped up to the plate by adding these jobs and converting 3,000 UAW members to permanent, full-time status with benefits.”
The new production investments also fit in with CEO Jim Farley’s plans to split the automaker into two major divisions, Ford Model e to focus on EVs and software and Ford Blue to manage its gas-powered lineup. The bulk of Thursday’s announced investments will go to Ford Model e.
All major automakers are spending money furiously to gear up for EVs. In addition to the $3.7 billion announced Thursday, Ford last year announced plans to build two battery plants with partner SK, creating 11,000 jobs in Tennessee and Kentucky, a combined $11.4 billion project.