Detroit, January 9, 2017 – Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of the Americas, announces during media days at the 2017 North American International Auto Show that the Ford Ranger midsize pickup truck will be reintroduced to the North American market
Less than a decade after it spent $550 million to rip all the tooling out of a Michigan truck plant and install new equipment for production of small and electrified vehicles, Ford Motor says it will spend $850 million to switch the factory back to cranking out trucks.
The flip-flop is an expensive example of what carmakers need to do to follow the shifting whims of the market -- or the political climate.
But it was short-lived. With its latest announcement, Ford will invest $850 million at Michigan Assembly plant near Detroit to make room for two iconic trucks that left showrooms for years but are now returning: the Ranger compact pickup and the Bronco sport-utility.
What about those small fuel-efficient cars? They're going to Mexico, a decision that drew the ire of President Donald Trump during the 2016 election campaign. Pressure from Trump, as well as shifting consumer preferences, prompted Ford in January to cancel plans for a $1.6 billion factory in Mexico, opting to build those small cars at an existing Mexico plant instead.
The 1,200 workers at the Michigan Assembly plant will start producing the Ranger in late 2018, and Bronco in 2020.
Ford said it will spend another $150 million at a nearby engine plant to support Ranger and Bronco production, "adding or retaining" 130 jobs.
The company also plans to invest $200 million for an advanced data center to support the massive data storage needs it anticipates as it pivots to provide mobility services -- connected, self-driving, electric cars -- in addition to its traditional business. It is the second of two new data centers Ford is building in Michigan, and will be located at its Flat Rock assembly plant where the company announced in January that it will invest $700 million and add 700 jobs to create a high-tech factory that will produce electric and self-driving cars.
Ford expects its data storage requirements to increase from 13 petabytes today to more than 200 petabytes in 2021 as its business model shifts toward the future.
n the past three months alone, Ford has announced $1.9 billion in new investments in Michigan. During the past five years, Ford has invested $12 billion in its U.S. plants and created a total of nearly 28,000 U.S. jobs.
Ford builds more vehicles in the United States and employs more hourly U.S. workers than any other automaker.