Ford Motor Co. will spend $550 million retooling a former SUV plant to build electric and next-generation versions of its compact Ford Focus.
The company’s new Ford Focus will roll off the line of Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant next year, while the battery-electric version of the Focus will debut in 2011. It will be the first all-electric vehicle for Ford.
Formerly known as Ford’s Michigan Truck Plant, the facility, which once produced the Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator, was considered one of the industry’s most profitable during the SUV heydey. Operations from Ford’s Wayne Assembly Plant will be consolidated as part of the move.
It is one of three former truck plants being transformed in coming years and will employ 3,200 workers when production of the Ford Focus line begins next year.
Other former truck and SUV plants under conversion include Ford’s Cuautitlan Assembly in Mexico, which will produce the Fiesta subcompact beginning in 2010, and its Louisville, Ky., facility, which will build other models that are part of Ford’s global Focus platform.
Ford is partnering with Magna International to develop the battery-electric Focus and will work with Smith Electric to market a battery-electric commercial vehicle in North America next year. Ford also plans to release a next-generation hybrid vehicle and plug-in hybrid, both in 2012.
Ford received more than $160 million in tax credits and credits from the state of Michigan, Wayne County and the city of Wayne for the expansion project.
Images provided by Ford Motor Co.