Ford Invests $900M in Kentucky for Expedition and Navigator Production

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Focus production moves to China, Ranger and Bronco headed to Michigan, and Ford doubles down in Kentucky for large SUVs.

Ford will invest $900 million in its Kentucky truck plant in order to build the Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator, the company announced via press release. At the same time, the Blue Oval announced plans to build a brand-new 2019 Ford Focus in China and Europe with the Focus’ current home, the Michigan Assembly Plant, taking over Ranger and Bronco production.

The Louisville plant will see the money to upgrade for production of the full-size SUVs that will arrive at dealerships this fall, Ford says. The $900 million should secure 1,000 hourly jobs as part of the 7,600 employed at the Kentucky Truck Plant.

The new Expedition features an upgraded 3.5-liter turbocharged EcoBoost V6 and will also come with Ford’s 10-speed automatic transmission. The Motor Company will export the Expedition and Navigator to 55 global markets, the company said in a press release.

Ford also announced plans for a next-generation Ford Focus in 2019. Current Focus production at the Michigan Assembly Plant will end in mid-2018 with the next-gen North American Focuses coming from China in 2019 at first. European-build models—we might suspect performance models—will come stateside later.

Ford scrapped plans early in 2017 to move Focus production to Mexico and the company’s Hermosillo plant. That planned move to Hermosillo came after Ford canceled a new-build manufacturing plant in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. Instead, Focus production moves overseas to China in 2018.

That migration of Focus production from the Michigan Assembly Plant frees up Ford to begin Ranger pickup production at the Wayne, Michigan, factory in late 2018. Assembly of the Bronco will follow there in 2020. Ford announced both the Ranger and the Bronco at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show after rumors about both returning bounced around. Confirmed details remain scarce about either model, although Road & Track reported that the Bronco will get a removable roof.

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Eric Rood is a regular contributor to Corvette Forum and LS1Tech, among other auto sites.

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