Michigan to Make First AVs, but Loses Ford Transit to Mexico

AutoInformed.com on Production of Ford’s first autonomous vehicles will begin in 2021 for deployment in commercial services to move people and goods.

Production of Ford’s first autonomous vehicles will begin in 2021 for deployment in commercial services to move people and goods. Too bad about U.S. jobs. Above: pretesting underway in London.

That Giant Sucking Sound continues at Ford as the next-generation North American Transit Connect goes to Mexico under the proposed – but still not ratified – United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) or NAFTA Lite. (NAFTA Lite – US-Mexico-Canada Agreement Hurts US Workers, NAFTA Talks Stalled. Doomed?)

In a transparent attempt at spin – in AI’s view laughable and tragic – Ford is re-adding a second shift at Flat Rock. The plant will become the production home to vehicles from the company’s next-generation battery electric flexible architecture. These vehicles will follow, ahem, the all-electric performance SUV coming in 2020 from Ford’s Cuautitlan, Mexico, plant.

Ford is targeting to invest $850 million in the Flat Rock Assembly Plant through 2023, adding a second shift. However, the plant investment also includes funding to build the next-generation Mustang  – it’s there now – and is part of a $900 million investment in Ford’s operations in southeastern Michigan. It a tiny fraction of Ford’s $11 billion commitment to global electric vehicles.

The company also announced it will complete Ford’s first autonomous vehicles at a new AV manufacturing center in southeast Michigan, up-fitting purpose-built, commercial-grade hybrid vehicles with self-driving technology and unique interiors. Production of Ford’s first autonomous vehicles will begin in 2021 for deployment in commercial services to move people and goods.

About Kenneth Zino

Ken Zino is an auto industry veteran with global experience in print, broadcast and electronic media. He has auto testing, marketing, public relations and communications expertise garnered while working in Asia, Europe and the U.S.
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