Ford today announced that its first fully-autonomous production vehicle will be built at the Flat Rock Assembly Plant in Michigan, following a $700 million plant expansion over the next four years that will create approximately 700 new jobs at the facility.
Ford’s first fully-autonomous vehicle will be exclusive to taxi and ride-sharing services – at least at first. It won’t feature manual controls like a steering wheel or pedals, instead remaining in self-driving mode 100% of the time. Development will be aided by the automaker’s new, second-generation Ford Fusion Hybrid autonomous test vehicle, whose official public debut is taking place at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week.
The $700 million investment planned for Ford’s Flat Rock Assembly Plant comes from $1.6 billion that Ford had planned on investing in a new small-car plant in San Luis Potosi, Mexico – a facility that Ford no longer plans on erecting. The Flat Rock plant will continue to produce the Ford Mustang pony car and Lincoln Continental luxury sedan as it adds Ford’s first fully-autonomous car, along with a new Mustang Hybrid and a 300-mile battery-electric SUV.
“I am thrilled that we have been able to secure additional UAW-Ford jobs for American workers,” says UAW-Ford Vice President Jimmy Settles. “The men and women of Flat Rock Assembly have shown a great commitment to manufacturing quality products, and we look forward to their continued success with a new generation of high-tech vehicles.”