Loss making Ford Motor Company unveiled this morning a $550 million changeover at its Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne from building trucks to assembling smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles.
The changeover represents a historic about face for executives at the struggling automaker, which has relied heavily on its truck line for the past 20 years. At one time Michigan Assembly, aka Michigan Truck, was said to be the most profitable auto plants in the world, as the Dearborn-based maker reaped billions of dollars in profits from the gas guzzlers that were produced there.
The revamped “lean, green and flexible” manufacturing complex will build Ford’s next-generation Focus and a new battery-electric version of the Focus for the North American market. Ford executives had previously objected as “too expensive” a plan for assembling the latest version the award-winning European Focus in the U.S. Instead a warmed over version of the old generation Focus was kept in production and bodystyles cut back — just as demand shifted sharply to compact cars as fuel prices sky-rocketed here. (more…)