Two Ford Motor Co. factories near Detroit will see 170 additional blue-collar jobs in the next two years as the automaker brings battery pack and gas-electric hybrid transmission assembly to the United States.
Ford said Monday that it will invest $135 million by 2012 at factories in Ypsilanti Township and Sterling Heights, Mich., to design, engineer and produce components for its next generation of hybrids and fully electric vehicles. About half the investment comes from a federal grant.
The Ypsilanti factory, which now makes auto parts, will get $10 million of investment to build battery packs, creating about 40 new jobs. The packs are now assembled by Delphi Corp. in Mexico. Ford will get its advanced lithium-ion battery cells from a parts supplier that it would not identify.
The Sterling Heights transmission factory will get a $125 million investment and 130 new jobs to build the continuously variable hybrid transmissions now built in Japan.
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Currently a supplier makes complex hybrid transmissions for Ford in Japan, the company said.
Ford also said that future development of electric and hybrid vehicles will be centered in the Detroit area, and it also will add 50 engineers to help do the work.
Mark Fields, Ford's president of the Americas, said further job growth and investment depends on acceptance of electric vehicles in the marketplace.
Ford received a $62.7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy for hybrid and electric vehicles. The money is part of the federal economic stimulus package, Ford officials said Monday at a news conference at the Ypsilanti Township factory. The company also received tax breaks from state and local governments.
Fields said Ford was able to bring the jobs to the U.S. because of cooperation with the United Auto Workers on wages and productivity.
UAW vice president Bob King, who has been nominated to become the union's president, said the cooperation was essential to bringing jobs that Ford, which is based in Dearborn, Mich., could have kept in other countries.