Wayne, Michigan – The Ford Motor Company will invest US$75 million in its truck plant’s body shop in Wayne, Michigan to prepare for small-vehicle production. The body shop will begin conversion in November, when the tooling and equipment specific to the Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator will be transferred to the Kentucky Truck Plant, which will produce those models in the second quarter of 2009.

The move paves the way for Michigan Truck to convert to a car plant that will begin producing vehicles based on the conmpany’s global C-car in 2010.

In the interim, the plant’s 1,000 employees will be transferred next door to Wayne Assembly Plant, where a third crew will be added in January to accommodate increased production of the Ford Focus. When completed, Michigan Truck’s flexibility will allow it to augment current Focus production if necessary.

“This is the best plan to meet consumer demand and utilize our assets at Michigan Truck and other facilities, both in the near term and long term,” said Joe Hinrichs, Ford group vice president, Global Manufacturing and Labor Affairs. “Consumers will benefit through increased production of the strong-selling Focus at Wayne, the continuation of the popular Expedition and Navigator for those who need a large SUV at Kentucky Truck, and more world-class C-cars at Michigan Truck.”

Michigan Truck is one of three truck and SUV plants in North America that will be converted to build small and subcompact vehicles. In 2010, Cuautitlan Assembly in Mexico, which currently produces F-Series pickups, will begin building the new Fiesta subcompact car for North America. Louisville Assembly, which builds the Ford Explorer, is slated to start production of new small vehicles from the global C-car platform the following year.

Ford invested US$300 million in Michigan Truck in 2005 to build a new, flexible body shop, which will help streamline the conversion to small vehicles. The plant will require an additional body shop investment of approximately US$75 million for the conversion, and is part of a larger investment planned for the plant. Ford said it continues to work with state and local governments on the scope of incentive support.

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