Company has invested more than $1.5 billion during last two years
Ford officials are expected to announce Tuesday morning that the company will create 2,000 new jobs and sink $1.3 billion into the Kentucky Truck Plant in eastern Jefferson County.
The infusion of employees and capital are part of a new body shop, retooling and other upgrades to build the new aluminum-bodied Super Duty pickup, which is scheduled to hit showroom floors late next year.
Gov. Steve Beshear, who has touted Kentucky’s automotive manufacturing as a key economic driver in the state, is expected to attend a 10:30 am. announcement with Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and several Ford executives.
The Detroit automaker has steadily added capacity to its Chamberlain Lane facility and at Louisville Assembly Plant on Fern Valley Road since the economic downturn. In 2014, Ford invested $80 million to boost production of Super Duty trucks at KTP.
It also spent $129 million to start production of the Lincoln MKC, a mid-sized SUV, at Louisville Assembly Plant. That means an investment in the region of more than $1.5 billion during the last two years.
“With the introduction of the all-new Ford Super Duty…we expect to continue growing our truck leadership,” said Joe Hinrichs, Ford president of The Americas. “Through this investment, we are continuing to show our commitment to Kentucky and the city of Louisville, as well as bringing to customers industry-leading trucks…”
Ford has 6 million square feet of buildings on its 400-acre site near the Snyder Expressway and Westport Road. It now employs nearly 4,700 people, of whom about 4,420 are hourly workers represented by the United Auto Workers Local 862. Another 227 people are on salary. Besides F-250 and larger pickups, KTP assembles Expeditions and Navigators.
Ford committed to the $1.3 billion capital investment four years ago, but the boost in employees is part of a 2015 national pact with the UAW. The company separately pledged to make $700 million in improvements at LAP and $600 million at KTP in the newest contract, which local UAW workers resoundingly rejected. It passed by a narrow margin nationally.
UAW leaders focused on the future. Jimmy Settles, the union’s vice president, said that “adding new jobs and more investment at Kentucky Truck Plant not only secures a solid foundation for our UAW members but also strengthens the communities in which they live, work and play.”
He credited members’ hard work and dedication for making the truck a big success.
Last summer, Ford asked state employment officials in Louisville to collect applications for 5,000 assembly technicians, many of which weren’t expected to make the cut to fill a new truck plant shift. The company also notified Metro zoning authorities of plans to add a total of 288,715 square feet to enlarge stamping, body shop and materials handling functions.
By Grace Schneider