An electrified pony car is coming.
Ford has announced it is betting big on electric vehicles. The American automaker will invest more than $850 million through 2023 into its Flat Rock, Michigan assembly plant to turn it into its second battery-electric factory in North America. Its other factory is in Cuautitlan, Mexico. A second shift will be added which leads to the creation of 900 new jobs. Both the Mustang and Lincoln Continental are currently built at Flat Rock.
"We've taken a fresh look at the growth rates of electrified vehicles and know we need to protect additional production capacity given our accelerated plans for fully electric vehicles," said Joe Hinrichs, Ford's president, Global Operations. "This is good news for the future of southeast Michigan, delivering more good-paying manufacturing jobs."
This announcement is part of the Blue Oval's planned $11.1 billion global investment in electric vehicles. And yes, this major investment also includes the next-generation Mustang, which will continue to be built at Flat Rock where significant plant re-tooling will be required. Why? Because it's widely expected the seventh-gen Mustang will be a hybrid, or at the very least offer a hybrid option. The Continental's future is less certain.
Ford also announced plans to complete its first autonomous vehicles at its new AV manufacturing center in southeast Michigan. At this time, however, Ford is not commenting what other new EVs Flat Rock will build.
What we do know is that the automaker is busy preparing its next-generation flexible EV architecture. This announcement follows a previous one that did not make American workers and government officials happy: the upcoming performance-electric SUV, due to be revealed in summer 2020, will be built in Mexico. Many expected Flat Rock would've been chosen. Ford has not changed its plans regarding this vehicle, but the Detroit-area facility's near-term future has been very much guaranteed.