Ford Motor Co. is investing $600 million to renovate its Louisville, Ky., assembly plant to build the next-generation Escape for North America. Some 1,800 jobs will be added when the plant reopens in late 2011, Ford announced today.
The automaker said the factory is the third North American body-on-frame truck plant it is retrofitting to build more fuel-efficient vehicles.
The refurbished plant will be flexible enough to produce five additional models -- cars, crossovers and wagons -- and will become Ford's most advanced factory in the world, the automaker said. Bloomberg News reported the plant will also produce a small crossover for Lincoln starting in 2012. Analysts say Ford will also be able to produce the new Focus compact car at the factory, if needed. The redesigned Focus will be assembled at Ford's Wayne, Mich., assembly plant.
The Louisville plant has built the Ford Explorer SUV since 1990. Ford plans to end output of the 2010 Explorer SUV on Dec. 16.