Rumored Ford production shift has not materialized

2013-09-18T14:52:00Z Rumored Ford production shift has not materializedJoseph S. Pete joseph.pete@nwi.com, (219) 933-3316 nwitimes.com
September 18, 2013 2:52 pm  • 

Detroit media and automotive blogs have been reporting for nearly a year the production of Ford Taurus and Lincoln MKS will moved from Hegewisch to a Michigan plant, but the shift has not come to fruition.

The Chicago Assembly Plant at Torrence Avenue and 126th Street continues to crank out both vehicles, which are still posting strong sales.

Michigan's Flat Rock Assembly Plant, which is located in the Downriver area south of Detroit, was supposed to take over production of one or both vehicles, according to multiple reports that all cited unnamed sources. But now Ford has instead launched production of the Fusion at Flat Rock, which also makes the Mustang and is now up to two shifts.

Ford Motor Co. officials said the company remains committed to the Chicago plant, which currently employs about 4,100 workers. The South Side factory also supports the jobs of another 2,100 workers at the Chicago Stamping Plant in Chicago Heights, seat maker Lear Corp. in Hammond and parts supplier Contract Services Group, also in Hammond.

"Ford remains committed to the Chicago Assembly Plant, including producing the award-winning Explorer, Taurus, Taurus SHO, Police Interceptors and Lincoln MKS," said Kristina Adamski, a Ford spokesperson. "As a company policy, Ford does not comment on future manufacturing or product plans."

Ford recently invested $555 million into the Flat Rock factory to start making the Fusion, which has posted a 13.4 percent gain in sales so far this year. The Dearborn-based automaker added 1,400 new jobs at the southeastern Michigan plant to produce a car that had previously been made only in Mexico and China.

Flat Rock is now up to two shifts at full line speed, though the 2.9 million-square-foot facility is not at full capacity, Ford spokesman Chris Varones said.

The 26-year-old plant, which had made Mazdas, employs 3,000 workers to make the Fusion and the Mustang. Ford has sold more than 206,000 Fusions and more than 54,000 Mustangs in the United States through the end of August.

By comparison, total sales of the Explorer, Taurus, Police Interceptors and Lincoln MKS models made in Chicago add up to just over 196,000 so far this year.

 

 

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