Ford to hire 450 people to build electronic pickup


DEARBORN, Mich .– Ford Motor Co. plans to spend $ 250 million and add 450 jobs at three Michigan plants to meet demand for the new F-150 Lightning.

Ford has already registered more than 150,000 reservations for the new electric version of its hugely popular F-150 pickup, Kumar Galhotra, Ford president of the Americas, told a news event Thursday.

“As the orders were coming in, as the reservations were coming in, it was just time for us to [increase] the ability to meet that demand, ”he said.

Galhotra made the announcement at the new Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in the automaker’s hometown of Dearborn, where the first pre-production trucks are made.

Ford organized tours of the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center to members of the media as well as government officials, including Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who said the facility “will be a place where the future is determined and built by hard working men and women. of the UAW. “

Ford officials hope the F-150 Lightning will be at the forefront of America’s transition from gasoline-powered vehicles to battery-powered vehicles. The new truck, which will be available to customers by next spring, will be able to travel up to 300 miles per battery charge and has a starting price of around $ 40,000.

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Ford’s $ 250 million investment will create 450 direct jobs per hour, with most of those workers assembling the F-150 Lightning at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center. Workers at the Rawsonville Component Plant in Ypsilanti will assemble the batteries, and the Van Dyke Electric Propulsion Center in Sterling Heights will increase its capacity to supply electric motors and electric transaxles for the Lightning.

The investment and additional jobs will increase production capacity to 80,000 trucks per year, Ford said.

This is in addition to the initial investment of $ 700 million that Ford announced in 2020 as part of a plan to add 300 jobs at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center to support battery assembly and production of the F -150 Hybrid PowerBoost and the fully electric F-150.

“Electric vehicles are not a silly California car,” said U.S. Democratic Representative Debbie Dingell of Dearborn. “That’s what real Americans drive.”

Ford was able to track early interest and convert it to sales with its hub to demand refundable online reservation orders under a new protocol for automakers. Ford did the same with its all-electric Mustang Mach-E.

The 2021 F-150 Hybrid was promoted throughout the year for its ability to function as a portable generator and provide electricity to families without electricity, whether during a winter storm or a wedding.

The automaker, which is the largest employer of hourly workers at auto factories in the United States, has invested $ 7.7 billion in Michigan and created and retained 7,000 jobs in Michigan since 2016, the company said. .

Ford said he brought Bronco and Ranger production to Michigan, redeveloped Michigan Central Station, developed a new Ford research and engineering campus in Dearborn, and established Ford’s $ 100 million Ion Park. to Romulus.

“Michigan has been home to Ford since its founding in 1903 and these sites represent a growing network in Southeast Michigan that will support Ford’s next generation of electric, connected and autonomous battery-powered vehicles,” Ford said in its Press release.

“Today’s announcement is a prime example of the right way to navigate the transition to the vehicles of tomorrow by securing the well-paying jobs of the future. Investing in vehicle construction here in the United States , with the hard-working men and women of the UAW Investments like this can pave the way for a future that protects our families, communities and middle class, ”said Laura Dickerson, Director of United Auto Workers Region 1A, at the Detroit Free Press.

Information for this article was provided by Mike Householder of The Associated Press and Phoebe Wall Howard of Detroit Free Press (TNS).

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