Ford Motor Co. executives are visiting the automaker’s Louisville Assembly Plant today to celebrate the launch of the Escape SUV.
The automaker invested $600 million in the Kentucky assembly plant, which previously built body-on-frame SUVs, to produce what it bills as the nation’s most fuel-efficient small utility vehicle with an automatic transmission.
“Today marks a celebration of progress and transformation,” said Mark Fields, Ford’s president of The Americas, in a statement.
“Louisville Assembly Plant’s reinvention illustrates how Ford is going further, continuing to invest in American manufacturing and new jobs while delivering even more of the fuel-efficient vehicles that give customers true power of choice.”
The facility is Ford’s most flexible U.S. plant, capable of producing up to six different vehicles at the same time, the company said.
“Manufacturing flexibility is critical to staying competitive in today’s global automotive marketplace,” said Jim Tetreault, Ford vice president of North America Manufacturing. “Our ability to produce up to six vehicles from a single plant gives us a sizable advantage in quickly adjusting our products and volumes to match changes in customer preferences and market factors.”
Ford is adding a third shift of 1,300 additional workers this fall, in addition to the 1,800 jobs it has already created. The third shift will bring the plant’s total hourly employment to 4,200.