Ford Motor Co. is reworking U.S. plants to lower costs and boost output of big sport utility vehicles, though unlike rival General Motors Co., it’s not cutting jobs.
The automaker will cut shifts at factories in Michigan and Kentucky and transfer about 1,150 workers to other plants to support stronger-selling models, spokeswoman Kelli Felker said in an interview.
A factory in Louisville that produces the slower-selling Escape and Lincoln MKC SUVs is going down to two shifts, from three, in the spring. Those 500 workers will move to another Ford plant in the city to boost production of the red-hot Lincoln Navigator and Ford Expedition SUVs, Felker said. Expedition retail sales are up 36% this year, while Navigator has soared by more than 80%.
In Flat Rock, Mich., Ford is dialing down to one shift of workers, from two, at the factory producing the Mustang sports car. About 500 of the workers there will move to a plant in Livonia, Mich., which produces transmissions for the F-150 and Ranger pickups, Felker said. Another 150 Flat Rock workers will be offered jobs at other Ford facilities, she said.
“Ford is rebalancing production at some of our U.S. plants, further increasing our efficiency while retaining jobs for all full-time hourly employees,” Felker said.