After unveiling the new Focus Monday, Ford made another announcement at the Detroit Auto Show about its battery plans. Like General Motors and other automakers, Ford has decided that battery technology (not necessarily including cell chemistry) needs to be one of its core competencies going forward. To that end, it will officially take over responsibility for development and production of battery packs and management systems for its electric and hybrid vehicles. Ford will also bring the hybrid transmission development and production in-house, starting with the next-generation hybrid launch in 2012.
This is a major change for Ford, which has previously relied on companies like Aisin for transmissions for the Fusion and Escape and Delphi for battery packs. Ford will invest $450 million in engineering and manufacturing and create 1,000 new jobs in Michigan. The new hybrid transmissions will be built at the Van Dyke transmission plant north of Detroit. Ford hasn't yet announced where the battery packs would be built.
The shift should help Ford alleviate the supply limitations it has experienced over the last several years with transmissions and batteries. A new hybrid and plug-in hybrid will be built at the Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, MI, but vice president of powertrain development Barb Samardzich told ABG that it will not be the new Kuga-based Escape successor. It will be based on the Focus platform but could be an entirely different body style that we haven't seen yet. The press release is after the jump.