Ford is expanding its capacity to produce more Expedition large SUVs, a next generation of battery-electric vehicles, and its autonomous vehicles in 2021 as part of a significant realignment of resources, the company has announced.
As part of its plan, Ford will also shift production of its Transit Connect compact van to North America from Turkey, where it is now being built, by 2021. Ford will produce cargo and passenger models of the van at its Hermosillo, Mexico, plant.
"We continue driving to find new and better ways to boost our fitness as a company and one of the world’s leading manufacturers," said Joe Hinrichs, Ford's president of global operations. "Working together with our employees, union partners and government officials around the world, we are continuing to unlock new solutions to deliver world-class vehicles people want and value even more efficiently."
Ford will increase production of its Expedition and Lincoln Navigator this summer by 20% to meet "surging demand," the company announced on March 19. Ford is adding 550 jobs to the Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville, where the vehicles are built alongside the Super Duty trucks. Sales of Expedition increased 35% in 2018, while Navigator sales increased 70% last year, according to Ford.
Ford is also investing about $900 million in southeast Michigan to expand its Flat Rock Assembly Plant to produce its next-generation battery-electric vehicles. This would be Ford's second plant that will produce battery-electric vehicles. Ford's first such vehicle will be a performance SUV built at a plant in Cuautitlan, Mexico.
Southeast Michigan workers will also make Ford's first autonomous vehicles in 2021 at an autonomous vehicle center, where they will install the unique self-driving technology and interiors. At the center, Ford will add autonomous technology to purpose-built, commercial-grade hybrid vehicles, according to the company.