FLAT ROCK, Mich. -- Ford Motor Co. said Monday that it will spend $644 million at its joint-venture plant with Mazda Motor Corp. to build the next generation of the Mustang in 2004.
The Mustang's new assembly line will allow the AutoAlliance plant to build nearly 300,000 vehicles annually by 2005 or 2006, plant officials said, and adds capacity for additional models.
The plant, a 50-50 joint venture between Ford and Mazda in southeastern Michigan, has not run near its original output for much of its 15-year history. Mazda began building the Mazda6 sedan there last year and has plans to eventually bring production up to about 100,000 vehicles a year. Ford, which has a controlling stake in Mazda, sold about 140,000 Mustangs last year.
The new tooling for the 2005 Mustang will allow Ford to build two different vehicle platforms with as many as four variants of each off either the Mustang or Mazda6 assembly line. Such flexibility allows automakers to match production more closely to sales and has been a cornerstone of Japanese auto plants for years.
Ford will receive $126 million in tax credits from state and local governments for adding between 1,200 and 1,400 jobs at the site. Ford executives said the jobs will be filled by Ford workers who had been laid off from other plants.
The Mustang had been built at the Dearborn assembly plant, which will be shut down next year when Ford brings its rebuilt Rouge plant on line.