The company is investing US$1.1 billion in the plant, including a new body shop, new tooling in the final assembly area, an upgraded paint shop and an all-new integrated stamping plant. A portion of the investment will also support production of the next-generation F-150 pickup at the plant.
The current SUV line at the Kansas City facility will be idled for retooling once the current Escape model is phased out in April but will reopen in 2013. The plant will continue to build the F-150 during retooling and will increase F-150 production to two shifts from one beginning in May.
The E-Series, Ford’s current commercial van, is built in Ohio. Ford said that certain E-Series body styles will continue to be available through most of the decade even after the Transit goes on sale.