Flat Rock plant will make autonomous vehicles
Earlier this year, we reported that Ford had decided to invest $700 million in its Flat Rock plant in Michigan to build an electric SUV with a 300-mile range. According to the latest reports, however, that SUV will now be built at Ford’s Cuautitlan Stamping and Assembly Plant in Mexico. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing for Flat Rock.
The Detroit News reports that the reason Ford plans to move production of that electric SUV to Mexico is that it wants to focus on building autonomous vehicles in Michigan. According to Alan Hall, a spokesman for Ford, the revised plan will allow it to build more self-driving cars, and it will also increase the number of jobs at the Flat Rock plant. In preparation for building its first autonomous vehicle, Ford reportedly plans to invest $200 million in the factory, as well as the $700 million it previously announced. Information on the vehicle itself is still sparse, but it’s said to be a hybrid and built on an entirely new platform.
The report also states that part of the reason for Ford’s decision is that electric vehicles currently have a comparatively low profit margin. Since it’s cheaper to produce cars in Mexico, it makes sense to build the electric SUV there. Plus, if Ford had kept the EV in Flat Rock, that would have reportedly interfered with plans to expand the plant for autonomous vehicle production.
“Next year will be an important time for us as we begin to test both our self-driving technology and business model in a variety of pilot programs in the first city in which we plan to operate an autonomous vehicle business,” wrote Jim Farley, Ford’s executive vice president and president of global markets, in a recent blog post. “I can’t wait to share more with you about our plans and promise to do so throughout this journey we’re on to create the future.”
Source: The Detroit News