2017-03-28 10:40:02
Ford to Expand U.S. Production of Trucks and S.U.V.s

DETROIT — In a move that drew praise from President Trump, Ford Motor said on Tuesday that it would invest $1.2 billion in three Michigan facilities as part of a larger effort to increase the production of American-made trucks and sport utility vehicles.

Ford, the second-largest domestic automaker, said the investments would support a manufacturing shift from small cars to pickups and S.U.V.s at one assembly plant, and add or preserve 130 jobs at an engine factory.

The company informed the White House of the move Tuesday morning, prompting an immediate reaction from Mr. Trump. “Big announcement by Ford today,” he said on Twitter. “Major investment to be made in three Michigan plants. Car companies coming back to U.S.”

Ford’s announcement comes in the wake of Mr. Trump’s meeting with auto executives two weeks ago in the Detroit area, when the president vowed to cut back environmental rules and other regulations to promote job growth in the industry.

General Motors, the largest American auto company, unveiled plans to create 220 jobs and retain 680 other positions on the day of Mr. Trump’s visit.

Now, Ford is responding with similar moves to increase its United States manufacturing operations incrementally.

“As America’s top producer of automobiles, we are proud to be going even further in our commitment to invest in manufacturing here at home,” said Joe Hinrichs, president of Ford’s Americas division.

A portion of Ford’s investment was previously agreed to in its labor contract with the United Automobile Workers, but had not been announced.

The centerpiece of the investment package involves spending $850 million to upgrade Ford’s assembly plant in Wayne, Mich., to build a new Ranger pickup and Bronco S.U.V.

Those vehicles will replace production of the Ford Focus sedan and another model at the plant.

Ford had planned last year to move the Focus to a new $1.6 billion factory in Mexico, but the company dropped its plans after enduring months of criticism by Mr. Trump for creating Mexican jobs rather than increasing American employment.

Instead, the company is moving the Focus to an existing Mexican plant and stepping up its changeover to trucks and S.U.V.s at the Wayne factory.

In addition to the investment at the truck facility, Ford said it would invest $150 million and add or retain 130 jobs at its engine plant in Romeo, Mich.

The automaker said it would also spend $200 million on an advanced data center in Michigan to support its development of autonomous and electrified vehicles.