LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Ford Motor Company has announced plans to invest $900 million in the Kentucky Truck Plant, upgrading it to prepare it to manufacture the new Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator.
"It meant a lot that they would believe in us, and we are going to continue to build world class vehicles," said Local 862 President Todd Dunn. "They will come in to the facility and take out the entire Expedition and Navigator line up and bring in new tooling. More innovative tooling."
According to a news release, the move will ensure that 1,000 hourly jobs will remain in the U.S.
People who build the new SUVs said they're stronger and lighter than before, but they require more people to put them together. Dunn said the investment will help temporary workers at the Kentucky Truck Plant become permanent workers, and the new equipment could lead to even more jobs, but it's unclear just how many.
The $900 million investment is in addition to a $1.3 billion investment and 2,000 jobs created at that plant in late 2015 to build the all-new Ford Super Duty trucks.
"We've got great economic momentum in Louisville taking place right now," Mayor Greg Fischer said. "So this announcement from Ford today, with another $900 million of investment, really cements their position here in Louisville."
"Large SUVs are attracting a new generation around the world, and we're finding new ways to deliver the capability, versatility and technology that customers around the world really want with our all-new Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator," said Joe Hinrichs, Ford's executive vice president and president, global operations, in a statement.
"At the same time, we also have looked at how we can be more successful in the small car segment and deliver even more choices for customers in a way that makes business sense."
The Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator will be exported to more than 55 markets globally, including plans to export the Navigator to China.
"I love the fact that the Navigators and Expeditions continue to be made here, but then the export advantage that comes from that is really good for our local economy as well," Fischer said. "It's just a wonderful statement about the UAW, the Ford Motor Company and the teamwork they have and the teamwork we have in the city."
Fischer says the continued investments from Ford in Louisville in recent years shows the company has confidence in the city's production capabilities and workforce.
"What that means is that they see a good workforce here in Louisville, a good partnership with the UAW, and that Louisville is a good place for them to operate," Fischer said. "We have over 13,500 employees that work for the Ford Motor Company here in Louisville. We're a strong city for them, one of the strongest in the world."
The Kentucky Truck Plant employs nearly 7,600 full-time hourly workers, and Ford has more U.S. hourly workers and builds more vehicles in the U.S. than any other automaker.
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