Ford Motor Co. and its suppliers have made a $220 million commitment to expand its Van Dyke Transmission plant in Sterling Heights, Mich. The expansion will add hybrid transmission production capability to support assembly of the Ford C-MAX Hybrid, C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid, Fusion Hybrid, Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid, Lincoln MKZ Hybrid and more, reports the Detroit Free Press.
Ford brings 225 new jobs to Sterling Heights
Fuel-efficient vehicles are the promise upon which Ford has promised to deliver, and Van Dyke Transmission will go a long way toward helping the automaker to achieve its goal. In-house jobs will bolster the local economy, and stand as a testament to Ford’s $632 million commitment to make all of its transmission facilities in North America top of the line.
By expanding the Van Dyke Transmission plant, Ford will become North America’s only front-wheel drive hybrid transmission producer. The new, ultra-modern power train, to be known as HF35, will reach top levels of production in North America by 2015, according to various reports from sources close to Ford’s transmission production business.
By 2015, 12,000 US hourly jobs
The 225 new jobs intended to meet production goals at an expanded Van Dyke Transmission will be part of Ford’s overall initiative to add 12,000 U.S. hourly jobs by the year 2015. New jobs at Van Dyke will come on the heels of 130 jobs already produced in order to prepare for the hybrid transmission launch. By the end of August, the 225 workers will be in position to begin. Van Dyke at this moment has 1,350 total workers, according to Marketwatch.
“Our investments in Van Dyke Transmission make it our most advanced, efficient transmission plant in the world,” said Jim Tetreault, Ford’s vice president of North America Manufacturing. “This demonstrates our commitment to bringing jobs and technology back into Ford and North America – actions that not only benefit our employees but our customers and the communities where we do business.”
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The power of the HF35
The first hybrid transmission to be designed and built by Ford, the HF35 includes two electric motors and a new cooling system that enables those state-of-the-art engines to operate efficiently at higher speeds. Producing the transmission in-house enables Ford to save 20 percent on production costs that previously went to a Japanese supplier. Ford’s $220 million Van Dyke investment will cover new manufacturing and capital equipment, and it will also cover various launch and engineering needs, as well as supplier upgrades. Ford will build both the HF35 and the more conventional six-speed automatic transmission 6F at the Van Dyke Transmission simultaneously.