Ford ups investments at stamping plants

April 3, 2012 Updated Apr 3, 2012 at 6:43 AM EDT

By WKBW News
By Business First by David Bertola

April 3, 2012 Updated Apr 3, 2012 at 6:43 AM EDT

Ford Motor Co. continued investing in its stamping plants.

This past weekend, it was announced that the automaker was planning to a $1.3 billion investment at its Hermosillo, Mexico stamping and assembly plant, which manufactures the Ford Fusion midsize sedan. At the Ford Woodlawn plant, they are preparing to install a new $136 million blanking line.

Multiple reports said Ford has already invested $3 billion in recent years in Mexico, not including the most recently announced investment.

Ford spokeswoman Marcey Evans said that as part of the new contract Ford negotiated with United Auto Workers in the fall, Ford committed to making investments in most of its U.S. facilities, including Buffalo Stamping Plant during the course of the four-year term of the agreement.

Evans said that in addition to the continuation of the Ford Edge and Flex, and the Lincoln MKX and MKT stampings, the plant will receive incremental stampings to support future product programs.

A new blanking line will allow the plant to cut blanks, or pieces of metal that are stamped into car parts. It will give the stamping plant products that can be shipped to any Ford plant in the country, unlike its stamped parts that are linked to a particular product.

It has yet to be installed, and represents a total investment of $136 million.

Meantime, a Kansas City Business Journal report said Ford will temporarily lay off 1,222 workers in about a month as it retools its Kansas City Assembly Plant to produce a new vehicle.

The Ford Escape ends production at the Claycomo plant on April 27. After that, the vehicle will be produced in Louisville, Ky., and the Claycomo plant will switch over to the new Ford Transit commercial van.

"These layoffs are the direct result of upgrades to prepare for the new Transit," Evans said. "Employees are on layoff as we renovate."

Ford plans to invest $1.1 billion to retool the Claycomo plant for production of the van and add 1,600 new jobs.

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