Dearborn, Michigan – The Ford Motor Company has announced a significant acceleration of its transformation plan, including the addition of several new fuel-efficient small vehicles in North America, and the adaptation of three domestic truck plants to small-car production. The company said the move is in response to rapid changes in customer buying preferences.

In addition to bringing six European models to North America, Ford is accelerating the introduction of its fuel-efficient EcoBoost and all-new four-cylinder engines, increasing hybrid production, and converting three existing truck and SUV plants for small car production, beginning this December.

“We continue to take fast and decisive action implenting our plan and responding to the rapidly changing business environment,” said Ford president and CEO Alan Mulally. “Ford is moving aggressively using our global product strengths to introduce additional smaller vehicles in North America and to provide outstanding fuel economy with every product.”

The changes Ford has announced include:

– The Michigan Truck Plant in Wayne, Michigan, which currently builds the Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator, will be converted beginning this December to production of small cars derived from Ford’s global C-car platform in 2010. The Expedition and Navigator will be moved to the Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville, Kentucky early next year.

– Cuautitlan Assembly Plant in Mexico, which currently produces F-Series pickups, will be converted to begin production of the new Fiesta small car for North America in early 2010.

– Louisville Assembly Plant in Kentucky, which builds the Explorer, will be converted to produce small vehicles based on the global C-car platform beginning in 2011.

– The Twin Cities Assembly Plant in Minnesota, which was scheduled to close in 2009, will continue production of the Ford Ranger through 2011 to meet consumer demand for the compact pickup.

– Kansas City Assembly Plant will add a third shift to its small utility line for the Ford Escape, Escape Hybrid, and Mercury Mariner and Mariner Hybrid, as previously announced.

Ford will continue to offer targeted hourly buyouts at its U.S. plants and facilities, and said it is on track to reduce salary-related costs by 15 per cent in North America by August 1, 2008. The company has also confirmed that it will retain Ford, Lincoln and Mercury in its North American brand portfolio and will work with dealers to broaden and accelerate its dealer consolidations to reflect the changing industry size and model mix.

The company plans to double capacity for North American four-cylinder engines to more than 1 million units by 2011, and will double its hybrid volume and offerings next year with the introduction of the 2010 Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan hybrid models, alongside the Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner hybrids.

 

Connect with Autos.ca