Image: All-Electric F-150 prototype. Source: Ford Motor
By Joseph White
DETROIT (Reuters) – Ford Motor Co said on Tuesday it plans to hire 350 more U.S. workers to expand production capacity for its electric F-150 pickup truck in Michigan and add assembly of electric commercial vans at a plant near Kansas City, Missouri.
The company said it also will add a second vehicle at the Mexican factory that is already set to build the Mustang Mach-E electric sport utility vehicle. Ford did not disclose how many people would be hired to build the additional vehicle in Mexico, which would “share a similar electrified platform” as the Mach-E.
Ford will invest $150 million to add production of electric vehicle motors and transaxles at a transmission factory in suburban Detroit, retaining 225 jobs.
The automaker’s latest electric vehicle investments are part of an $11.5 billion plan mapped out through 2022. Ford has promised the United Auto Workers union that it will invest $6 billion in U.S. factories to build electric vehicles.
Ford will increase production capacity for an electric version of its F-150 large pickup by 50% from its original plans, adding another 200 permanent jobs at a complex near its headquarters in Dearborn, Mich. Those jobs would be on top of 300 jobs previously promised for the electric F-150 line.
The electric F-150, scheduled to go on sale in 2022, will compete with electric pickups planned by Tesla Inc TSLA.O, General Motors Co GM.N, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV FCHA.MI and several startup companies, in a segment that was not on most automakers' product plans just a few years ago.
Kumar Galhotra, president of Ford’s Americas and International Markets groups, said the decision to boost electric F-150 output was taken after the truck’s debut in June.
Based on the response to the work-oriented electric truck from government agencies, commercial fleets and individual buyers, “we started working on a substantial increase,” Galhotra said in an interview.
Galhotra did not say how many electric F-150s Ford will be able to build.
Ford will invest $100 million and hire 150 workers to build electric versions of its Transit commercial van, scheduled to go on sale in 2022. The electric Transit will enter a field that is racing from virtually non-existent to crowded as established automakers and startups compete to respond to demand from e-commerce delivery companies for electrically driven and digitally connected vehicles.
Reporting By Joe White; Editing by Sam Holmes and Bernadette Baum.