DETROIT -- A confident Ford Motor Co. said today that it plans to add 5,000 U.S. jobs in 2014, open two plants in Asia Pacific and one in South America, and launch 23 vehicles globally.
“Next year, we are embarking on our most ambitious global launch year ever to meet customer demand for our products around the world,” Raj Nair, group vice president for Ford global product development, said in a statement.
Ford plans 16 launches in North America. They include the Ford Mustang, Ford Transit Connect, Ford Transit and Lincoln MKC.
“We saw unprecedented growth in the United States this year, especially in the midsize and utility segments,” Joe Hinrichs, Ford president of the Americas, said in the statement. “With the addition of 16 new products to our showroom, including Ford Mustang, our momentum continues.”
Hinrichs said Ford has learned from the problems it had with launches this year. It has taken steps including adding launch engineers at Ford factories to help suppliers gear up.
“We’re focusing a lot of energy getting ready for these launches,” he said.
Kansas City expansion
Production of the all-new Transit will begin in the second quarter of 2014 at Ford’s newly retooled Kansas City Assembly Plant. Ford is investing $1.1 billion to retool and expand the facility.
Ford will add more than 2,000 jobs at the Kansas City plant -- more than 1,000 of them new hires -- to support high demand for Ford F-150 plus production of the Transit family of commercial vehicles starting next summer, the company said.
Dave Schoch, president of Ford Asia Pacific, said new capacity in that region will allow Ford to “take another significant step in the implementation of our Asia Pacific growth plan.”
To support its new products, Ford will open three plants -- two in Asia Pacific and one in South America.
Next year, Ford plans to open the Changan Ford Assembly Plant No. 3 and Changan Transmission Plant in Chongqing, China, as well as the Camacari Engine Plant in Brazil. The Chongqing assembly plant will increase the company’s production capacity in China by 300,000 units next year.
“This is the fastest and most aggressive manufacturing expansion the company has undergone in 50 years,” said John Fleming, executive vice president of Ford global manufacturing. “The last time Ford was growing like this, Dwight D. Eisenhower was the U.S. president.”
To fuel this growth, Ford plans to hire more than 6,000 employees in Asia next year, the vast majority of them hourly employees. In the United States, Ford expects to create more than 5,000 jobs, including 3,300 salaried positions, the largest hiring initiative since 2000. In the past two years, the company has created more than 14,000 jobs in North America.
More than 80 percent of the new salaried jobs will be technical professionals who work in product development, manufacturing, quality and IT, a company statement said.
Ford also will offer two additional EcoBoost engines next year -- a new 2.3-liter engine and another for which Ford did not release details. Also, Ford’s 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine offered in the Ford Fiesta goes on sale in North America for the first time.
Bradford Wernle contributed to this report.