In a move that has Ford employees in Claycomo, Mo., quite hopeful that their jobs will be safe, the automaker has stated that it plans to invest $400 million on upgrades to its Claycomo plant near Kansas City. Reuters reports that the move will enable Ford to build a new vehicle there. The vehicle in question has not been revealed.
Ford will continue F-series production at Claycomo
The Claycomo plant in Missouri will continue to produce F-series pickups, which were among the highlights of the recent Detroit Auto Show. Currently, multiple worker shifts are assigned to producing the Ford Escape SUV, while one shift makes F-series pickups. As a part of the reorganization process behind the $400 million cash infusion, U.S. Escape production will move to Ford’s Louisville, Ky., plant by the end of 2011.
By keeping the once-troubled Claycomo plant open, Ford states that it will save 3,750 jobs in the Kansas City area. According to projections at the Detroit Auto Show by Mark Fields, Ford’s president in North America and South America, the company will take on an additional 7,000 jobs in the U.S. from 2011 to 2012. This will include 4,000 jobs in 2011, 1,800 of which will be in Louisville and 750 engineering jobs in product development and manufacturing.
A bounty in Claycomo
Ford’s $400 million reinvestment plan for the Claycomo plant will include a new body shop, as well as a variety of additional improvements. The move marks what Fields refers to as Ford’s commitment to U.S. manufacturing, as well as maintaining a positive relationship with the United Auto Workers union.
This stands in stark contrast to the dark clouds that surrounded Claycomo one year ago. Haig Stoddard, a veteran auto industry analyst, told the Kansas City Business Journal in February 2009 that the Ford plants in Claycomo and Wayne, Mich., were on the verge of shutting down.
The sun shines on Claycomo
Today, UAW Ford representative Jimmy Settles is beaming over the news from Ford. And new Missouri tax incentives played no small role in keeping Claycomo open.
“We are pleased to have the cooperation of labor, business and government working together to retain good jobs in Missouri,” Settles said in a media statement.