Ford announces $1.2 bn investment in US auto plants

Chicago (AFP) – Ford announced Tuesday that it will invest $1.2 billion in three Michigan plants, most of which is part of a 2015 deal with its workers.

Ford said all but $200 million of the new investment was part of its labor contract with United Auto Workers, the union representing Ford plant employees, which secured a commitment for $9 billion in investments in US plants by 2019.

But the Trump administration appeared to be taking at least partial credit for the news.

President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly singled out the auto industry and pressured them to keep plants and jobs in the country, foreshadowed the news in a morning tweet.

“Big announcement by Ford today. Major investment to be made in three Michigan plants. Car companies coming back to U.S. JOBS! JOBS! JOBS!,” the president tweeted.

And White House advisor Kellyanne Conway wrote on Twitter, using the common acronym for the US president: “Two weeks after @POTUS met with auto execs… Ford plans ‘significant’ investments in 3 plants.”

Trump visited Michigan earlier this month, where he met with auto executives and pledged to roll back auto regulations. He also hinted that a major announcement would be forthcoming.

But in announcing the new investment Tuesday, Ford and UAW clearly credited their 2015 labor agreement.

“Thanks to collective bargaining, the hard-working men and women at each of these locations will now reap the full fruits of their labor,” UAW-Ford Vice President Jimmy Settles said in the statement.

Ford’s new investments will be made in three Michigan locations, with $850 billion going to its Michigan Assembly Plant to retool it for making new Ranger pickup trucks starting late next year, and Bronco sport utility vehicles in 2020.

Ford also will spend $150 million to expand an engine plant, where it will create or retain 130 jobs, and $200 million to build a data center for the increasingly technology-heavy vehicles, the company said in a statement.

The $9 billion investment commitment…

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