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Ford Investing $550 Million for Plant Conversion in Michigan

Ford Motor Company will invest $550 million to convert its Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan, from a large SUV and truck factory into a flexible small-car manufacturing complex that will support approximately 3,200 jobs. The company says it plans to retool the factory, which formerly built Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator sport-utility vehicles, to produce the redesigned Ford Focus small car by 2010 and a battery-electric version of the Focus by 2011, and that the United Auto Workers (UAW) will be working with management to incorporate lean manufacturing and energy efficiency into the operation. "The transformation of the Michigan Assembly Plant embodies the larger transformation underway at Ford," says Ford CEO Alan Mulally in a statement. "This is about investing in modern, efficient and flexible American manufacturing. It is about fuel economy and the electrification of vehicles. It is about leveraging our expertise and vehicle platforms around the world and partnering with the UAW to deliver best-in-class global small cars. It is about skilled and motivated teams working together in new ways to create the future of automobile manufacturing in the United States." The company says the state of Michigan and local government agencies have offered the company up to $160 million in incentives that include tax credits and grants, some based on job retention and economic rehabilitation and some based on integration of advanced battery development programs. Ford has not requested or accepted federal automotive industry bailout funds.

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