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Ford spending $1.2bn at Michigan factories

Ford said it was spending US$1.2bn on Michigan factories to build new trucks and SUVs and expand as a mobility company.

The automaker will allocate $850m to its Michigan Assembly Plant to retool to build the revived Ranger small truck and Bronco SUV. Ranger assembly starts at the end of 2018 and Bronco follows in 2020.

The company also plans to create or retain 130 jobs and spend $150m to expand capacity for engine components for several vehicles, including the planned Ranger and Bronco, at its Romeo Engine Plant in Michigan.

Ford will also spend $200m on an advanced data centre to support the company’s expansion to an auto and a mobility company. It is the second of two new data centres the automaker is building in Michigan because the company expects its data usage to increase 1,000% – driven by manufacturing and business needs and new mobility services, such as more connected, autonomous and electrified vehicles.

The second new data centre will be located at the Flat Rock Assembly Plant, where the company is spending $700m and adding 700 direct new jobs – as announced in January – to create a factory for electrified and autonomous vehicles.

Said Joe Hinrichs, Ford president, The Americas. “As America’s top producer of automobiles, we are proud to be going even further in our commitment to invest in manufacturing here at home.”

In the past three months, Ford has announced $1.9bn in new investments in Michigan. During the past five years, it has spent $12bn in its US plants and claims to have created almost 28,000 US jobs. It also claims to build more vehicles in the United States and employ more hourly US workers than any other automaker.

The work to transform Michigan Assembly begins next May. Following the same pattern used during vehicle changeover at the Dearborn Truck Plant in 2014, Michigan Assembly will take just four weeks to remove and reinstall the tooling necessary to build the Ranger and Bronco.

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