By Alisa Priddle, Detroit Free Press –
DETROIT — Ford will invest $1.3 billion in its Hermosillo, Mexico, plant and is creating 1,000 jobs to make the all-new 2013 Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ midsize sedans.
The automaker confirmed the plans Friday, a week before the new MKZ will make its global debut at the New York auto show.
The MKZ is the first completely new vehicle in Lincoln’s strategy to compete more effectively in the luxury car market. A new horizontal grille and retractable glass roof are among design cues for Lincoln products going forward. Ford has also consolidated its Lincoln dealers in metro markets in an effort to offer a more upscale customer experience.
The new Fusion — which will be offered with a choice of gasoline engines as well as hybrid and plug-in hybrid models — is expected to sell well enough to warrant investment in the Mexico plant and adding production at Ford’s AutoAlliance International plant in Flat Rock, Mich., which it has jointly owned with Mazda.
Ford already has committed to spending $555 million at Flat Rock and adding a second shift.
In Mexico, “Ford is making a significant investment in this facility and a significant commitment to the employees here while also transforming our vehicle lineup for customers throughout North America,” said Mark Fields, Ford president of the Americas, who was in Mexico on Friday for the announcement.
“The midsize sedan market is significant, growing and one of the most competitive in the industry,” Fields said.
Ford has been making cars in Mexico for 87 years and building the Fusion in Hermosillo since 2005 in one of the company’s most productive facilities.
“Working together with national and state government officials, Ford has been able to make our vision a reality, helping deliver new jobs and even greater levels of competitiveness for the company,” said Gabriel Lopez, CEO of Ford of Mexico.