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Ford to make Transit van at US plant

October 21, 2011

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KANSAS CITY, Missouri—Ford Motor Co. confirmed its plan to build a North American version of its popular European commercial Transit van on Friday, saying it would spend $1.1 billion on upgrading its Claycomo plant to build the new model.

The move will add 1,600 jobs at Claycomo, near Kansas City, where Ford hopes to have the Transit ready to join its North American lineup in 2013.

The $1.1 billion will pay for various improvements and expansion, including a new stamping plant and a second line for the F-150 pickup.

Friday's announcement follows Ford's agreement this week with the United Auto Workers union, a deal that's expected to add 5,750 jobs across the company, mainly with more shifts at factories that make cars and trucks that are selling well.

Ford's 41,000 union workers approved the contract Wednesday. They won't get annual pay raises, but this year they will get $6,000 signing bonuses, about $3,750 in profit sharing, and another $1,500 for inflation protection.

Ford said its current sport-utility line at Claycomo will be idled after the current Escape model is phased out in April. The line will re-open in 2013.