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Ford, GM invest $1.2 billion US on EV production

Ford to invest $850 million in Flat Rock; GM puts $300 million into Orion

Published: March 22, 2019, 10:30 PM
Updated: March 27, 2019, 3:45 AM

2016 Ford Focus Electric badge

Both Ford and General Motors are investing in their Michigan facilities to prepare for the coming age of electric vehicles.

Chevrolet Bolt EV

Ford is investing about $900 million US in southeast Michigan, including expansion at its Flat Rock facility to boost production of next-generation electric vehicles. General Motors has announced an investment of $300 million US in its Orion Township assembly plant that will produce a new Chevrolet electric vehicle.

“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,” said Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of Global Operations. “This is good news for the future of southeast Michigan, delivering more good-paying manufacturing jobs.”

2016 Ford Focus Electric

Tied to the company’s previously-announced $11.1 billon investment in EV-development and production, the investment in Flat Rock is directly tied to the production of vehicles following Ford’s new performance electric SUV coming next year. A planned $850 million will be invested through 2023, in the form of the addition of a second shift.

The remaining $50 million will go into a new autonomous-vehicle centre also in southeast Michigan, where the company will upfit commercial-grade hybrids with the self-driving technologies, as well as new interiors. Production of Ford’s first round of autonomous vehicles (for commercial services) is due to begin in 2021.

Chevrolet Bolt EV

Over at GM, the company is planning production of a new Chevrolet EV that will be based on the Bolt compact crossover, though no timeframe has been put forth.

“We are excited to bring these jobs and this investment to the U.S.,” said GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra during an announcement at the plant with employees, elected officials and community leaders. “This new Chevrolet electric vehicle is another positive step toward our commitment to an all-electric future. GM will continue to invest in our US operations where we see opportunities for growth.”

2017 Chevrolet Bolt

GM had been planning to build the new EV offshore, but the recent United States, Mexico and Canada (USMCA) trade agreement’s rules of origin provisions made GM rethink the decision, especially in light of the new vehicle’s being built off the Bolt, which is already produced at the Orion plant.

The investment in Orion is part of a broader $1.8 billion investment across US manufacturing operations, creating 700 jobs and supporting another 28,000 jobs in six states