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Ford will invest $350 million to build new fwd transmissions

Ford in its 2015 UAW deal vowed to invest $1.8 billion in the Livonia, MIch., plant and add three new transmissions.

DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co. on Friday said it's investing $350 million in its Livonia Transmission plant as part of the commitment it made in its 2015 deal with the UAW.

The automaker said the investment will support a new transmission for front-wheel-drive vehicles. The move will create or retain 800 jobs.

"We remain committed to American manufacturing and investing in our people and facilities," Joe Hinrichs, Ford's president of the Americas, said in a statement. "Even as the industry's largest employer of hourly workers in the United States and biggest producer of American-made vehicles, we believe it is important to continue investing right here in our home market."

Ford did not say how many of the 800 jobs would be new, and a spokeswoman said Ford expects the majority to be filled by current Ford workers. It expects to begin adding jobs late this year, with the majority coming next year and in 2019.

Ford in its 2015 UAW deal vowed to invest $1.8 billion in the plant and add three new transmissions. Last year, it announced a $1.4 billion investment to make its new 10-speed transmission, which first rolled out on its F-150 and Raptor pickups.

Ford said this new transmission, which will increase fuel efficiency, will share some software and design elements with its 10-speed.

The plant employs about 1,800 hourly workers.

Friday's news comes two days after Ford announced it would cut about 1,400 salaried positions in North America and Asia in a cost-cutting move.

You can reach Michael Martinez at mdmartinez@crain.com -- Follow Michael on Twitter: @MikeMartinez_AN

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