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.