Ford will invest $1.2 billion in three of its manufacturing facilities in Michigan to support the production of the Ford Ranger midsize pickup and the Bronco sport utility vehicle as well as production of electrified and autonomous vehicles.
Ford will spend $850 million retooling its Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich., to bring back two of its most notable nameplates.
The company’s investment also includes $150 million to expand capacity for engine components for the Ranger and Bronco at its Romeo Engine Plant in Romeo, Mich., which also builds engines for its Ford Super Duty pickups. The plant’s expansion will create or retain 130 new jobs.
Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of The Americas, said the investment is meant to build on the company’s strengths, which include trucks, vans, commercial vehicles and SUVs.
In January at the Detroit Auto Show Ford said it would bring the Ranger to its North American vehicle lineup in 2019, and the Bronco to its global vehicle portfolio in 2020. The reintroduction of these vehicles will help Ford capitalize on two popular sales trends in the U.S. auto industry: midsize trucks and SUVs.
Americans purchased almost 450,000 midsize pickups last year, a 25.5 percent gain over 2015. And automakers sold more than 6.7 million SUVs last year, creating the biggest segment across the board and accounting for 38 percent of all U.S. sales.
Analysts have said the brand will benefit from the resurrection of two of the vehicles that helped Ford earn its reputation for building rugged vehicles.
Ford said in a statement that in addition to contributing to the strength of its truck and SUV lineup, the Ranger and Bronco are also two of its “profit pillars.”
The rising cost of larger vehicles – partly because of more technology and luxury features – has not stopped consumers from paying top dollar for trucks and SUVs. In 2012, the highest starting price for a Ford F-150 was the Platinum trim at $48,210. By 2016, the price of the same truck had risen to $56,235, an increase of 16.6 percent.
The Ranger will go into production at the end of 2018, and the Bronco in 2020.
Ford will also invest $200 million for its second new data center in Michigan that will be located at its Flat Rock Assembly Plant in Flat Rock, Mich. The company has already invested $700 million – and added 700 new jobs – in this project to support its production of electrified and autonomous vehicles.
Ford is also “proud to be going even further in our commitment to invest in manufacturing here at home,” Hinrichs said.
Ford has announced $1.9 billion in new investments in Michigan since January. During the past five years, Ford has invested $12 billion in its U.S. plants and created a total of nearly 28,000 U.S. jobs.