Ford Motor Co. is considering building one or more of its new Mazda6-based vehicles in Georgia, and it is scouting locations outside Atlanta that would offer space for a stamping plant and supplier park.
One possible candidate for an assembly plant is the Ford Futura, which will replace the Taurus in the Ford Division lineup. The Taurus and the Mercury Sable are built at the current Atlanta plant.
Ford wants to use supplier parks at more North American locations to speed assembly time, improve quality and lower logistics costs. The automaker uses the approach extensively in Europe and is renovating its Chicago assembly plant to include a supplier park.
It is all part of Ford's massive retooling of its North American assembly operations to add flexible production systems that can pump out multiple vehicles off fewer platforms with the ability to adapt volumes to market demand quickly. Ford is trying to erase $6.5 billion in losses during the past two years by driving billions of dollars of cost out of its systems and regain market share with fresh vehicles.
Ford could achieve much of that with its plans for the Mazda6 platform. The automaker is planning as many as 10 Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles off those underpinnings, offering greater flexibility to build more models at fewer plants. At the same time, Ford wants to close three assembly plants to remove almost a million units of production overcapacity.