Ford to make Transit van at plant near Kansas City

AP News
Posted: Oct 21, 2011 12:41 PM
Ford to make Transit van at plant near Kansas City

Ford Motor Co. confirmed its plan to build a North American version of its popular European commercial Transit van on Friday, saying it would spend $1.1 billion on upgrading its Claycomo plant to build the new model.

The move will add 1,600 jobs at Claycomo, where Ford hopes to have the Transit ready to join its North American lineup in 2013.

The $1.1 billion will pay for various improvements and expansion, including a new stamping plant and a second line for the F-150 pickup.

Friday's announcement follows Ford's agreement this week with the United Auto Workers union, a deal that's expected to add 5,750 jobs across the company, mainly with more shifts at factories that make cars and trucks that are selling well.

Ford's 41,000 union workers approved the contract Wednesday. They won't get annual pay raises, but this year they will get $6,000 signing bonuses, about $3,750 in profit sharing, and another $1,500 for inflation protection.

The move is a boost for the economy in Missouri and Kansas City, Gov. Jay Nixon said.

"Right here, right now. The rebirth of the American auto industry begins at this moment," Nixon said at the announcement. "And let me be clear: It's no accident that it starts here in Missouri."

Ford said its current sport-utility line at Claycomo will be idled after the current Escape model is phased out in April. The line will re-open in 2013.