Ford has announced plans to invest $1.45 billion in two Detroit-area plants and add 3,000 new jobs as part of plans to launch production of the new Bronco SUV, an all-new Ranger pickup truck and hybrid and all-electric versions of the F-150. The investment will also support the development of Ford’s first autonomous vehicles.
The state of Michigan on Tuesday approved up to $35.3 million in various incentives for the automaker. Ford is making the investment as part of its commitment to spend $6 billion and create or retain 8,500 jobs under terms of the deal it struck with the UAW last month.
About $750 million will go to the Michigan Assembly Plant in suburban Wayne to add 2,700 new jobs over three years and add tooling and other equipment to make the new Bronco and an all-new Ranger small pickup. The Ranger was just introduced in the U.S. as a 2019 model but was introduced globally in 2011 and refreshed in 2015. The next generation is expected around 2021; a spokeswoman tells Autoblog there is no timeline for the all-new version. The new Bronco is set for a spring 2020 reveal.
The Wayne plant will also get a new modification center where, starting in 2021, workers will install self-driving technology developed with Argo AI and purpose-built interiors, including on Bronco and Ranger models. The center will complement existing AV research under way in Dearborn and Detroit, where Ford is developing a new campus devoted to work on self-driving and electric vehicle technologies.
Ford’s Dearborn manufacturing site will get the remaining $700 million and 300 new jobs in support of hybrid and battery-electric variants of the F-150. It also plans to create a new facility for assembling battery packs for use in both variants of the truck. Ford says the hybrid version will debut next year alongside the next-generation combustion F-150, with the EV variant following soon after.
Ford plans to invest more than $11.5 billion globally to develop and build electric vehicles. It is leaning heavily on profits from vehicles like the F-150 and Ranger — and, it hopes, the upcoming Bronco — to help it cover that outlay.