Ford Motor Co will begin testing its latest self-driving vehicle technology next year in at least one city but has not changed its plan to begin commercial production until 2021, the company said.
Now Ford has announced that production of the new electric SUV is shifting from its plant in Flat Rock, Michigan to Mexico so that it can produce an autonomous vehicle in Michigan. "Yesterday's announcement by Ford to expand production of autonomous vehicles at Flat Rock, and move a low-volume electric SUV to Mexico does not affect our jobs or economic investment commitments". It will be shut down for two weeks to ease growing inventories of both models. That plan, which Ford said would create 700 jobs, was formulated after President Donald Trump threatened to withdraw the U.S. from the North American Free Trade Agreement and ridiculed automakers for making any vehicles in Mexico.
In fact it now expects to have 850 jobs there, rather than 700.
So while some Ford jobs look to be heading to Mexico, more are coming to the U.S.as well. That's one reason it tapped Jim Hackett, who previously led Ford's self-driving car effort, as CEO when Fields was forced out earlier this year. The model will launch in China, where it's built. And it's not all bad news for U.S. auto workers, as Ford also plans to invest $200 million and add another 150 jobs at its Flat Rock, Michigan location to develop self-driving systems. The automaker's first autonomous vehicle will be a gas-electric hybrid capable of operating for 20 hours a day.
Ford's Flat Rock Assembly Plant, in Michigan, builds the Mustang and the Lincoln Continental.
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