It's a positive move for Ford, but some communities don't like its new venture.
Ford has officially started to break ground on its all-new production facility near Stanton, Tennessee, which will be called BlueOval City. According to Bloomberg, the construction has resulted in a financial boom for the small southern town, but some people don't necessarily see this as a good thing.
Stanton is a location with only one restaurant and a population of 452 people, many of which are retirees looking for a quiet place to live in their final years.
With an extensive roster of employees now making their way into the region, a new hustle and bustle has been injected into a once-quiet society. But there are many upsides also worth mentioning. While some retirees don't look forward to the influx of people, other retirees are incredibly excited about the opportunities is might afford their grandkids.
The BlueOval City will produce Ford's next all-electric truck, separate from F-150 Lightning. This may be in reference to the Ford Maverick and Ford Ranger Lightning trademarks we discovered earlier this year.
It covers six square miles and results from a $5.6 billion investment, adding 6,000 employees to its workforce to produce 350,000 units annually.
Ford's venture down south is due to the state of Tennessee giving the brand more land and lower labor costs. This has officials in Michigan worried that they'll lose some of the company's business, which is valid because it is understood that Ford will also be expanding into Kentucky for its battery production and development.
Ford insists that its home will always be in Michigan and that its BlueOval project is merely to grow its footprint.
Company CEO Jim Farley says EV production expansion is a must because it now accounts for one of every 10 units the company sells. He anticipates that this trend will grow by 90% annually until 2026.
Although existing manufacturing facilities in Tennessee have rejected unions, Ford has a different standard practice. "We have a decades-long history of working closely with the UAW. Ultimately, employees at the new assembly and battery plants in Tennessee and Kentucky will be able to choose whether they organize, and we respect and support their right to make that choice," said Hannah Ooms, BlueOval City Communications Manager.
Ford does have a long history with the UAW, so there's a chance that it may set a precedent in the region, but no promises have been made just yet because employees for the factory are yet to be hired.
Although its new facility is set to be one of its largest, its operations in the region will only amount to 11,000 jobs compared to the 45,000-strong workforce it currently has in Michigan.
As noted, some residents are concerned about Ford's expansion in the region, but other towns are looking at the move with a feeling of hope and opportunity.
Brownsville is one location where the company is being welcomed with jovial signs celebrating the Blue Oval posted on storefronts. Ford is also aware of its impact on these small towns and has sent its plant manager, Kel Kearns, into local communities to strengthen relations and ease any possible concerns.
WREG Memphis reports that automotive repair students at Cordova High School are excited about the new plant as it allows them to put their newfound skills to good use when operations start in 2025.
Brian Martinez, a 17-year-old student who attends the school, says, "I'm planning to get a job with Ford as a technician, see where that takes me, you know. I feel pretty excited because I'm thinking of doing this for the rest of my life, you know, working on cars."
The school's auto shop instructor Brian Sneed agrees with the decision to expand into the region because of how many impressive skills his students are already displaying. The only catch is that the curriculum doesn't cater to EV production, but Ford is launching education programs to resolve this.