Ford to Create Production Center For Driverless Cars

Ford to Create Production Center For Driverless Cars

Ford will begin production of its first commercially available autonomous vehicles at a dedicated site and also build battery electric vehicles at a nearby assembly facility.

The automaker said it will equip purpose-built hybrid vehicles with self-driving technologies at an AV manufacturing center in south-east Michigan. It plans to deploy these vehicles commercially in 2021, 17 years after it began autonomous research. President of global operations Joe Hinrichs said: “As we ramp up AV production … this new plan combines our core strength in mass manufacturing with the agility and leanness we’ve shown with our modification centers for specialty manufacturing.”

Ford also announced plans to base production of vehicles employing its “battery electric flexible architecture” at its assembly plant in Flat Rock, south-east Michigan where the AV vehicles will be built before being shipped to the special center to have driverless technology installed. Hinrichs said: “We’ve taken a fresh look at the growth rates of electrified vehicles and know we need to protect additional production capacity given our accelerated plans for fully electric vehicles.” He claimed this was “good news for the future of south-east Michigan, delivering more good-paying manufacturing jobs”. The plans involve adding a second shift at the plant and investing more than $850M through to 2023, some of which will fund construction of a new Ford Mustang crossover.

The carmaker also said it would manufacture its Transit Connect LCV for the North America market at its plant in Hermosillo, Mexico from 2021. It claimed this would “increase US and Canadian vehicle content” in line with the proposed United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which requires 75% of a vehicle’s components to be manufactured in the US, Mexico, or Canada for it to qualify for zero tariffs.


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