DETROIT -- The Transit commercial van, an additional shift for the Ford F-150 pickup and a new stamping operation are on their way to Ford Motor Co.’s Kansas City assembly plant in Claycomo, Mo.
Ford said today it plans to invest $1.1 billion in the plant -- $700 million more than it had said previously.
The automaker, confirming a commitment made in its new four-year labor contract with the UAW, said it will build the Transit commercial van at Kansas City beginning in 2013. The Transit is now assembled and sold outside North America.
Ford also said the increased investment in the Kansas City plant would add a body shop, tooling in the final assembly area, an upgraded paint shop and an integrated stamping plant adjacent to the current plant.
The Kansas City plant improvements will begin in April after production of the Ford Escape ends there.
The integrated stamping facility will produce Transit body panels and other parts.
Ford’s current commercial van, the E series, is assembled in Avon Lake, Ohio. Some E-series body styles will continue to be available after Transit production begins, Ford said.
The Avon Lake plant will receive $128 million worth of upgrades as it takes over production of Ford F-650 and F-750 medium trucks from a plant in Escobedo, Mexico as part of its new contract.
That will take place once Ford ends production of the E-series vans being built there, which could take place in 2014, according to the Chronicle Telegram in Elyria, Ohio.
Meanwhile, an additional shift producing the F-150 will be added in May at Kansas City, adding about 800 employees to the truck line.
Workers at Ford’s Dearborn plant, which also produces the F-150, are not expected to experience any change in production.
“Our plans for transforming Kansas City Assembly and constructing a new integrated stamping plant to support Transit production demonstrate just how committed Ford is to our employees, the city of Liberty and the broader Claycomo community,” Mark Fields, Ford’s president of the Americas, said in a statement.
By the time U.S. production of the Transit starts in 2013, Ford said, the automaker hopes to have its commercial vans around the world built on a common platform.
Ninety percent of the members of UAW Local 249, which represents Ford workers at the Kansas City plant, voted to ratify the new labor agreement. No other UAW local voted more heavily in favor of the deal.