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Ford investing $550 million at Louisville plants

Most of the investment will be targeted at the Louisville Assembly Plant on Fern Valley Road. The automotive giant intends to spend $550 million in a project that will include modernizing the facility and the installation of new equipment, according to documents filed with the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority. The modernization is needed to help Ford prepare for the launch of its new Ford Escape and Lincoln Corsair models, which are made at that facility.

We reported back in November 2018 that the Escape design would get a refresh in 2020 as the 2019 Escapes were the last under that design.

CNET also reported earlier this year that the new Escape would feature a bevy of new powertrain technologies and include electrified hybrid models with and without plugs.

Ford then announced plans in April to build the Corsair at the Louisville Assembly Plant. The company said then that the Corsair "embraces elements of both the full-size Lincoln Navigator and three-row Lincoln Aviator while building on these cues with even more flair."

The Corsair replaces the Lincoln MKC SUV, which launched in 2014. The Corsair, similar in size to the Ford Escape, will hit dealerships this fall.

With this investment, KEDFA has authorized up to $40 million in performance-based incentives for the project as part of a long-term incentive agreement between the state and Ford.

“Ford builds more vehicles in the U.S. and employs more hourly workers in the U.S. than any other automaker — and we'd like to keep it that way,” the company said in a statement Thursday. "To do so, we must remain competitive. We appreciate the strong support from the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the City of Louisville. The incentives approved today help Ford remain competitive and support the 12,500 hourly jobs at our Louisville plants.”

Jack Mazurak, communications director for the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, had this to say on Ford’s investment: 

“Ford is a long-time pillar of employment in the Greater Louisville area and we’re thrilled the company is continuing to reinvest in its plants and retain its Kentucky workforce. In addition to the tremendous economic impact of its two Louisville plants and their 12,000-plus direct jobs, Ford’s supplier network supports thousands of additional Kentucky jobs.”

Mazurak further said that “Ford’s investment directly supports Kentucky’s goal to become America’s engineering and manufacturing hub of excellence. Our cabinet looks forward to continuing and deepening our long-term relationship with Ford.”  

With this latest project, Ford has pledged up to $2.95 billion in investments that is covered under an ongoing incentive agreement with the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The total incentive amount is up to $355 million under that agreement, Mazurak said.

To be eligible for the incentives, Mazurak said Ford must hit its investment target and maintain 90 percent of a 12,000-worker group covered under the incentive agreement.

Dearborn, Mich.-based Ford has two plants in Louisville. The Kentucky Truck Plant, on Chamberlain Lane, produces the Lincoln Navigator, Ford Expedition and F-Series Super Duty. The company has more than 13,000 employees in the area in total.

Source: https://www.bizjournals.com/louisville/news/2019/08/29/ford-investing-550-million-at-louisville-plants.html By Marty Finley  – Reporter, Louisville Business First

Aug 29, 2019, 12:28pm EDT

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