For the first time, Ford Motor Co. has moved production of its Fusion sedan from Mexico to the U.S.
The company’s Flat Rock, Mich., plant began making the Fusion in late-August. Fusion sedan production was formerly only done in Hermosillo, Mexico. The Michigan plant made the Ford Mustang sports car before getting a second shift of 1,400 workers to make the Fusion.
The 66-acre plant now has 3,100 workers.
Ford had been making around 250,000 Fusions each year at its plant in Hermosillo, but that wasn’t keeping up with demand for the hot-selling midsize sedan, which was revamped last year. Sales this year are up 13 per cent to 181,668 through July, Ford said, making the Fusion one of the bestselling cars in the country.
With the production at Flat Rock, Ford will be able to make 350,000 Fusions each year. Ford is also looking at options for expanding American capacity even more, should demand grow, and a Ford executive says that the Flat Rock plant could produce yet another model in addition to the Mustangs and Fusions that are currently assembled there. The Mustang and Fusion currently built there are based on completely different platforms.
“We certainly have the flexibility for the future to do more,” Ford president of the Americas, Joe Hinrichs said at a press event as the first Fusion sedans came off the Flat Rock assembly plant. “We’re trying to get our capacity set up to meet demand. With the growing demand for our trucks, growing demand for Fusion, other product lines, that’s what we’re focused on.”
Ford isn’t the only company that has moved work back to the U.S. because of the lower wage rates. General Motors Co. moved production of its Sonic subcompact to Michigan from South Korea in 2011.