Ford Motor Co.is moving planned production of an electric crossover with a 300-mile range to Mexico from MI to make way for additional investment on autonomous vehicles in its home state. Ford has since confirmed it has adjusted production plans to move the new crossover to Mexico.
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Ford plans instead to convert the suburban Detroit factory into a manufacturing hub for future driverless vehicles, hiking its anticipated investment in the plant to $900M from $700M foreseen previously. "It wasn't too long ago Ford canceled plans to build a plant in Mexico".
With today's announcement, Flat Rock is going to be exclusively focused on autonomous investment going forward.
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The vehicle to be built in MI is said to be an entirely new model for Ford, a hybrid-electric autonomous vehicle.
Likewise, moving the electric crossover to the company's Cuautitlan, Mexico plant will likely enhance already-low margins on the vehicle. And it's not all bad news for USA auto workers, as Ford also plans to invest $200 million and add another 150 jobs at its Flat Rock, Michigan location to develop self-driving systems. Of course, Ford has switched CEO's since the previous announcement with Jim Hackett tasked to accelerate Ford's electrification and autonomous vehicle strategies.
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"Next year will be an important time for us as we begin to test both our self-driving technology and business model in a variety of pilot programs in the first city in which we plan to operate an autonomous vehicle business", wrote Jim Farley, Ford's executive vice president and president of global markets, in a recent blog post.