TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (Bloomberg) -- Automakers, enjoying the best U.S. sales since 2007, this week disclosed plans to spend $434 million to boost their capacity to make vehicles and engines.
Chrysler Group LLC today said it will add capacity and almost 300 jobs at a Michigan engine plant. Ford Motor Co. said it's looking to squeeze more vehicles out of every North American factory. Honda Motor Co. said today it will invest $215 million in Ohio, including about $180 million at an engine plant, the automaker said in a statement.
The carmakers are responding to increased sales, including a 14 percent July jump in U.S. car and light-truck deliveries to 1.3 million, according to the Automotive News Data Center. The annualized industry sales rate, adjusted for seasonal trends, was 15.8 million, accelerating from 14.2 million a year earlier. The July results keep the U.S. on track for its best year since 16.1 million vehicles were sold in 2007.
"We're still looking at how we get more out of every plant and that'll be a focus for as long as the demand is as strong as it is," Jim Tetreault, Ford's vice president of North American manufacturing, told reporters today here on the sidelines of the 2013 CAR Management Briefing Seminars.
Ford, already facing low inventories of its Fusion sedan, may add more capacity for "some products," he said.
Asked if the company needed additional capacity for the Fusion sedan and Escape SUV, Tetreault said, "We're working on it."
The popularity of Ford's new Fusion sedan has left inventory low and the automaker is adding a second shift of 1,200 workers at its assembly plant in Flat Rock, Mich., to start building Fusions there later this year.
A third shift could be added there, Tetreault said today.
"If sales and marketing says we need more, we'll give them more."
Separately, Chrysler said it intends to spend $52 million at its engine factories in Trenton and Dundee, Mich., to boost capacity of the Tigershark engine. The automaker will add 298 jobs at the Trenton plant, according to a statement.
General Motors Co. said Tuesday it's increasing a planned Spring Hill, Tenn., plant investment by $167 million. The automaker is adding $40 million to a previously announced mid-size vehicle program and will spend $127 million on a second mid-size vehicle program.
The moves will retain or create 1,800 jobs and bring total spending at the Tennessee plant to $350 million, according to a statement.