A worker on Friday walks through a holding lot filled with market-ready F-150 pickups at the Dearborn Truck Plant. Ford Motor Co. announced last week the addition of 250 assembly jobs at the south end factory in response to increased demand for its flagship vehicle.
Increased demand, tax incentives cited
By J. PATRICK PEPPER
DEARBORN — Ford Motor Co. last week announced the addition of 250 assembly jobs at the Dearborn Truck Plant in response to surging consumer demand for the F-150.
Thanks in part to a promotion that ended Sunday, September truck sales were up 43 percent over the previous month and 40 percent versus year-ago figures, company officials said in a statement. Year-to-date, F-Series sales are up 31 percent compared to 2009.
Most of the workers assuming the positions are being assigned from the AutoAlliance International plant in Flat Rock, which produces the Ford Mustang and the Mazda 6. That plant in July slowed production from two shifts to one shift.
The jobs come as part of a broader $850 million investment plan that the company said would affect four Michigan plants from 2011 to 2013, adding 1,200 jobs to make six-speed transmissions, gears and other components to improve the fuel efficiency of its vehicles.
The affected Ford plants are Van Dyke Transmission in Sterling Heights, Livonia Transmission, Sterling Axle and Dearborn Truck.
Ford is making the Michigan investment commitment after working with officials on a new Michigan Economic Growth Authority package that replaces several existing state incentives to encourage investments in new fuel-saving technologies and facilities. The Michigan Economic Development Corp. approved the package last week.
Though the 2011 F-150 is substantially the same aesthetically as the 2010 model, the latest version offers an all-new powertrain lineup. Among the new options are a 3.7-liter V-6 engine that is projected to deliver a best-in-class 23 mpg highway, pending EPA certification; a twin-turbo 3.5-liter engine featuring the company’s EcoBoost technology; and a 5.0-liter V-8 engine projected to deliver best-in-class 21 mpg highway, also pending EPA certification.
“Fuel economy and technology are consumers’ biggest priorities – and we have made them Ford’s as well,” said Mark Fields, Ford’s president of the Americas, in a statement. “We are pleased to work with state and local government leaders to find new ways to work together, invest in our people as well as Ford facilities, further improve our competitiveness and secure jobs in Michigan.”
The jobs addition continues to build on the recent string of good news from the automaker, particularly at Dearborn Truck. In 2008, Ford invested $148 million in the plant for tooling and equipment upgrades to build the then-newly designed F-150. That move resulted in the reinstatement of the third crew in January of last year, which added some 1,000 skilled trades and production workers to the plant’s work force.
Officials with UAW Local 600 did not return a phone call seeking comment before press time for this story.