Monday, October 25, 2010

Ford Announces $850 Million in Investment in Four Plants, Adding 1,200 Michigan Jobs

Remember the American auto industry that the Democrats saved? Well, you are looking at some of the happy returns of that action.

Although Ford has been well-managed and didn't take any bailout money, they had borrowed to the hilt before the crash happened, and then they watched the bankruptcy proceedings of GM and Chrysler on pins and needles. Steve Rattner, in his book "Overhaul", explains how Ford management was rooting on the sidelines for everyone to succeed, because Alan Mulally "knew that the failure of GM and Chrysler would wipe out much of the supply base and make it difficult or impossible for Ford to produce cars".

Difficult or impossible. Others may claim that they would have benefited greatly from the loss of GM and Chrysler, but Mulally certainly didn't see it that way at the time it was happening. And chances are, if we had suffered the big meltdown and were still picking up the pieces at this point, Ford would not be in a position today to announce this:

Ford Motor Company announced Monday that the company plans to invest $850 million in four Michigan plants. They say their plans include the creation of more than one thousand Michigan jobs.

It is expected that 1,200 jobs will be created in Michigan. Of those, 900 jobs will be hourly manufacturing positions. Another 300 will be salaried positions.

The four plants are being upgraded as part of Ford's emphasis on six-speed transmissions.

The company says the investment will come between 2011 and 2013 at the following plants:

* Van Dyke Transmission
* Sterling Axle
* Livonia Transmission
* Dearborn Truck

Rattner imagined the fallout of a GM and Chrysler failure, describing it like this: "The manufacturing sector was in turmoil. The state of Michigan was insolvent. A million or so people had been added to the unemployment rolls. The economy has received a terrible shock and was spiraling rapidly towards depression." Does anyone seriously think that Ford would be making this announcement in 2010 had that happened in 2009? The economy wouldn't have recovered like this. Car and truck sales would have still been in the dumps.

And most important, take note of where Ford is choosing to invest. Not Mexico. Not China. Not "down South", Mr. Shelby. Here. In Michigan. And yes, this is contingent on tax credits from MEDC, you know, the organization the Republicans want to tear down, apparently so other states can make these offers and steal the business from us. Seems kind of like crazy talk when you look at it that way, doesn't it?

Ford also announced today that they are adding 250 jobs at the Dearborn plant due to increased sales of the F-150. The Freep reports that fewer than 200 Ford workers are on layoff nationwide - so you'd imagine that the 1,200 jobs above will be new hires, thanks to the Democrats and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

Just something to keep in mind next week as you head to the polls.