The Blue Oval intends on using U.S. workers to create a new fuel-efficient gearbox

Ford has announced that it will invest $350 million in its Livonia Transmission Plant, stating it intends to add a new fuel-efficient transmission to its model lineup. The investment will subsequently create or protect roughly 800 U.S. auto manufacturing jobs. The jobs will be added later this year, with the bulk added in 2018 through 2019. The Livonia Transmission Plant investment is part of Ford’s ongoing plan to bolster its various U.S.-based production facilities. Over the past four months, Ford has invested $2.25 billion in Michigan alone, with $12 billion invested across the U.S. over the past half decade.

“Even as the industry’s largest employer of hourly workers in the United States and biggest producer of American-made vehicles, we believe it is important to continue investing right here in our home market,” said Joe Hinrichs, Ford president, The Americas. But what are the details on this new transmission, and what can we expect when it comes to these new jobs?

Continue reading for the full story.

Why It Matters

What’s Up With This New Transmission?

2018 Ford Fiesta ST High Resolution Exterior
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Ford didn’t go into detail with regards to the upcoming transmission it has planned, but did mention that it was intended for fuel-efficient vehicles utilizing a FWD platform. Ford also said the new gearbox shares the same software, design, and manufacturing processes as the recently added 10-speed automatic currently in use on the F-150 and F-150 Raptor, which is also built at the Livonia Plant. Further manufacturing at the Livonia facility includes Ford’s six-speed gearbox, with support for the Mustang, Transit, and Expedition model lines.

Any Details On These New Jobs?

Clearly, Ford is eager to boast about its commitment to building vehicles in the U.S., a topic that’s been at the forefront of the industry ever since President Trump ramped up his rhetoric about punishing companies for moving jobs overseas. This latest Livonia investment is part of Ford’s recent string of investments in U.S. production facilities, but it’s looking like the announcement might be a bit sugarcoated.

According to our friends over at Autoblog, who spoke with an unidentified Ford representative, the bulk of the jobs will go to existing Ford employees, which means the number of new jobs will be substantially less than the 800 positions announced in this press release. And while it would be great if Ford were creating additional opportunities for American auto workers, the value of protecting existing jobs shouldn’t be underestimated.

Note: all images courtesy of Ford.

Ford is investing $350 million in its Livonia Transmission Plant, adding a new transmission to expand its lineup of fuel-efficient powertrains as part of the company’s plan to fortify its core automotive business.

The company will create or retain 800 hourly jobs to support production of the new transmission. Ford expects to begin adding jobs late this year, with the majority coming next year and in 2019.

“We remain committed to American manufacturing and investing in our people and facilities,” said Joe Hinrichs, Ford president, The Americas. “Even as the industry’s largest employer of hourly workers in the United States and biggest producer of American-made vehicles, we believe it is important to continue investing right here in our home market.”

Ford Announces Plans To ‘Create Or Protect' 800 Jobs With Transmission Plant Investment
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In the past four months alone, Ford has announced more than $2.25 billion in new investments in Michigan. The company has invested $12 billion in its U.S. plants and created a total of nearly 28,000 U.S. jobs during the last five years.

This investment in Livonia Transmission Plant is in addition to $1.4 billion and 500 created or retained hourly jobs announced for the plant in 2016 to support production of a new 10-speed transmission for the 2017 F-150 Raptor and certain other F-150 trucks.

Ford’s investments are supported by a strong partnership with the UAW, as well as with federal, state, county and local governments.

“Today’s announcement of investment at the Livonia Transmission Plant is further evidence of the benefits of collective bargaining and the ongoing commitment of UAW-Ford to lead the way in creating and maintaining automotive manufacturing jobs in America,” said Jimmy Settles, UAW vice president. “The addition of these 800 jobs will add job security for the plant’s hardworking men and women, and support for the surrounding community.”

Ford Announces Plans To ‘Create Or Protect' 800 Jobs With Transmission Plant Investment
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Transmission innovation
The investment supports production of a new, advanced transmission for front-wheel-drive vehicles. This transmission will provide customers better-performing, more fuel-efficient vehicles. It will share software, design elements and manufacturing processes with the 10-speed and other future transmissions.

The transmission will be finely tuned to blend fun driving and efficiency with Ford engines, including EcoBoost®. Most applications will use a common microprocessor with more than 4 million lines of code controlling both engine and transmission.

Ford continues leading the industry in combining downsized EcoBoost engine technologies with advanced transmissions and lightweighting innovations. For example, the F-150’s V6 lineup matched to the truck’s aluminum body now accounts for more than 75 percent of its sales. Ford’s 1.0-liter EcoBoost has held the title of World’s Best Engine for five years running.

Livonia Transmission Plant
Livonia Transmission Plant employs approximately 1,800 people. It builds six-speed and 10-speed transmissions used in a number of vehicles including Mustang, F-150, Transit and Expedition.

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