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Ford Planning up to 25% More Products per Plant

Mazda out, Ford has big plans for Flat Rock factory.

by on Sep.10, 2012

Ford President of the Americas Mark Fields at the renamed Flat Rock Assembly Plant.

By 2015, Ford plants around the world will be able to produce 25% more vehicles and their derivatives than they could turn out in 2011, company officials said Monday.

Increasing the range of models rolling off a single assembly line should help the maker better balance production and demand, said Mark Field, Ford president of the Americas, during an appearance at the maker’s plant in the southern suburbs of Detroit.

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Long known as AutoAlliance, that plant was operated as part of a joint venture with Mazda Motors. The Japanese maker built its last Mazda6 sedan there last month, however, and Ford has now taken full control of the facility, renaming it the Flat Rock Assembly Plant – a reference to the town where it is base.

“The new Flat Rock Assembly Plant symbolizes the growth driven by our One Ford plan,” said Fields, adding Ford will be adding a second shift at the Flat Rock plant in the first half of 2013.


Mazda Set to Build Last Car in the U.S.

Japanese maker will walk away from joint venture with Ford.

by on Aug.24, 2012

Ford will continue to build Mustangs at the AutoAlliance plant in Michigan.

Little Mazda Motors has long been known for doing things its own way, sticking with the rotary engine, for one thing, decades after other manufacturers gave up on the fuel-inefficient technology.  And the step the maker is expected to take today again runs counter to general industry trends.  But it leaves many industry observers wondering whether it will leave the Japanese maker at a serious competitive disadvantage.

Sometime today, the very last Mazda6 sedan will roll off the AutoAlliance International assembly line in Flat Rock, Michigan.  Mazda has been building cars at the facility in suburban Detroit for the last quarter century, having set up AAI as a joint venture with long-time partner Ford Motor Co.

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But Ford has all but completely walked away from that trans-Pacific partnership, selling off all but a small stake in Mazda in recent years and ending decades of product sharing programs.  Mazda, in turn, has been looking for a new partner and, with sales of the Mazda6 on the decline, it decided to walk away from the assembly plant joint venture – turning to a factory in Japan for the soon-to-be-updated Mazda6 model.


Ford Planning Big Bump in US Production Under New Contract

Maker will shift work back to U.S. from Mexico, Europe.

by on Oct.04, 2011

Ford will build both plug-in and conventional hybrid versions of the new C-Max in the U.S. under the new UAW contract.

Ford Motor Co.’s new contract with the United Auto Workers Union also contained a revealing amount of information about the company’s future production plans — which now appear to include a large bump in U.S. operations.

Along with $6,000 signing bonuses, enhanced profit sharing and $7,000 in inflation protection, the tentative 4-year agreement will add at least 5,750 new UAW jobs, Ford officials announced, with the company acknowledging $6.2 billion in additional investments in products and plants – bringing to $16 billion the commitment it has now made.

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Among the most critical developments, the union appears to have saved the AutoAlliance plant in the Detroit suburb of Flat Rock, which had been operated as a Ford/Mazda joint venture.  The Japanese maker plans to pull out production of its Mazda6 and though it has suggested it might switch to a replacement, that isn’t considered likely.  So, with only the Mustang to build the plant had seemed doomed to closure.


New Settlement Will Increase Ford’s Competitiveness – Yield New Jobs and Investments

Maker hoping it will also trigger a credit rating hike.

by on Oct.04, 2011

The new UAW contract should result in Ford's maintaining the AutoAlliance plant in suburban Detroit which now builds the Ford Mustang and Mazda6. Mazda plans to abandon the plant.

Ford Motor Co. will increase by $16 billion its investment in North America while adding 12,000 new jobs, the maker announced as it confirmed reaching a tentative new contract with the United Auto Workers Union.

While declining to release specific details of the settlement, which was reached in the wee hours of the morning after more than two months of bargaining – and nearly three weeks after the union reached an agreement with General Motors – Ford officials stressed that the new contract will “improve our overall competitiveness.”

Ford is also hoping that, much like the GM agreement, the new contract will be received well by credit rating agencies.  Ford CEO Alan Mulally has made it a top priority to return to investment grade.  S&P last week indicated it would consider an upgrade if the Ford contract appeared similar in its advantages to the settlement won by GM.

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“We believe this agreement,” said Ford EVP John Fleming, “will enable us to increase our overall competitiveness in the United States,” something he underscored by noting the 4-year contract, if ratified, “will also permit us to insource work from Mexico, China, Japan and other parts of the world.”


Mazda Moving Mazda6 Production Back to Japan

Maker still studying “future opportunities” for U.S. plant.

by on Jun.06, 2011

Mazda confirms it will pull production of the Mazda6 sedan out of the U.S.

Mazda has confirmed that it will end U.S. production of its Mazda6, the next-generation midsize sedan to be built at its main plant in Japan.

But the maker says it is still studying “future opportunities” for the suburban Detroit factory it currently operates as part of a decades-old joint venture with Ford Motor Co.  Industry insiders nonetheless Mazda will eventually pull out of the partnership, which could lead to the closure of the factory, which currently produces both the Mazda6 and the Ford Mustang.

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Currently, Mazda produces the slow-selling Mazda6 at three factories, the AutoAlliance International facility in Flat Rock, Michigan, the FAW plant in Changchun, China, and the maker’s main assembly line, in Hofu, Japan.

With demand down it makes little sense to keep production spread out, acknowledged Mazda CEO Takashi Yamanouchi, confirming recent media reports, including an extensive analysis on last week.


Mazda Reportedly to Stop Building Cars in U.S.

Maker will leave long-time joint venture with Ford.

by on Jun.03, 2011

Mazda is expected to abandon the U.S. plant it now operates with Ford and may also cancel production of the midsize Mazda6.

Mazda appears ready to end a nearly quarter century-old joint venture with Ford Motor Co. and stop producing cars in the United States.

The apparent decision reflects the fact that Ford has sold off all but a small portion of its holdings in the Japanese maker – as well as the reality that the Mazda6 model produced in the Flat Rock, Michigan plant has not been doing well in the American market.

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Officially known as AutoAlliance International, the plant was opened in 1987 and marked the high-water point in the long-running relationship between Mazda and Ford.  The U.S. maker had acquired a controlling stake in its Asian ally, which was then struggling to overcome a series of setbacks.  Ford even got to name the CEO at Mazda and appointed a number of Western managers – a rarity at the time.