Wayne, Michigan – Ford will invest US$550 million to transform its Michigan Assembly Plant into build the next-generation Focus, along with a new battery-electric version for the North American market.

The plant, which formerly produced the Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator, is one of three North American light truck plants the automaker is retooling to build fuel-efficient global small cars in the coming years. The new Focus will begin production next year, with a battery-electric version that will be Ford’s first all-electric passenger car scheduled to debut in 2011.

As part of the retooling, Ford will consolidate its operations from Wayne Assembly Plant, with approximately 3,200 employees building the new Focus at the Michigan Plant in 2010.

In addition to Michigan Assembly, Ford will also convert Cuautitlan Assembly in Mexico to build the new Fiesta early new year, and Louisville Assembly in Kentucky, which will produce small vehicles from Ford’s global Focus platform beginning in 2011.

The zero-emission Focus battery-electric vehicle, which is being developed in partnership with Magna International, features a high-voltage electric motor powered by a high-capacity lithium ion battery pack, and charged by plugging into a 110- or 220-volt outlet. Ford is also collaborating with Smith Electric to sell a Transit Connect battery electric commercial vehicle for North American in 2010.

Ford’s product plans also include a next-generation hybrid vehicle in 2012, and a plug-in hybrid vehicle in 2012.

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